The defense team for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara cross-examined a former Aum lawyer Friday on inconsistencies between his testimony and the depositions given by other cult members over events before the disappearance of a Yokohama lawyer and his family in November 1989.Yoshinobu Aoyama, 37, took the witness stand for the prosecution for the second consecutive day in the trial of Asahara, indicted in connection with the murders of anticult lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and their infant son in 1989. Sakamoto was representing parents hoping to get their children out of the cult.Aoyama testified on the previous day that he and two other cultists visited Sakamoto’s office four days before the family disappeared from their apartment. He said they had discussed complaints from parents of Aum followers in an amicable atmosphere.The defense questioned Aoyama’s memory by reading aloud a memo about the visit written by another senior cultist who was informed of the visit at a meeting of senior Aum members that night. The memo said Aoyama told Sakamoto during the visit that “we will have a full-scale war (against him).”Aoyama responded that he did not think the memo is correct. “But don’t you think there is a big difference between the ‘full-scale war’ and the friendly atmosphere in which cult members left Sakamoto’s office, even saying ‘see you again’ as you claimed?” the defense countered.”I cannot make a comment on a memo written by somebody else,” Aoyama responded. Aoyama reiterated that he did not feel any tension when he visited Sakamoto and said he remembers the testimony he gave previously.
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