A former Aum Shinrikyo follower who confessed to being involved in the murders of an anticult lawyer and his family gave detailed testimony July 18 concerning what he and five other cultists did immediately before the attack on Nov. 4, 1989.
Responding to questions posed by defense lawyers for Aum founder Shoko Asahara, 36-year-old Kazuaki Okazaki testified that he and the other cultists checked the nameplate of Sakamoto’s apartment from a nearby shrine using binoculars on Nov. 3. Then two of the six cultists waited to see Sakamoto at the nearest station to his home while the remaining four waited on the street to attack him, Okazaki said.
The two groups were in separate cars and communicated to each other by radio, he said. “We waited for about five hours until around 10 p.m., but couldn’t find him,” he said. After telephoning Sakamoto’s home and receiving no answer Okazaki got out of the car to examine the apartment, he said.
The hearing was the fifth full day of cross-examination of Okazaki by Asahara’s lawyers in the trial. Okazaki fled Aum a few months after the murder of Sakamoto, his wife and their 1-year-old son. He and five other cultists stand accused of murdering the family on Asahara’s orders.