Three former Aum Shinrikyo members were brought to the witness stand at Thursday’s trial session of cult founder Shoko Asahara in connection with the 1995 kidnap and murder of a Tokyo notary worker, but one of them refused to testify.

Asahara’s 112th hearing at the Tokyo District Court took up the case in which seven cult followers allegedly kidnapped and killed Kiyoshi Kariya, 68, at the end of February, 1995, after giving him an anesthetic on Asahara’s orders.

They took Kariya to Aum’s Kamikuishiki complex to force him to reveal the whereabouts of his sister, who was engaged in a dispute with the cult over donations that she had earlier promised. Aum suspected at that time Kariya was hiding his sister from the cult.

Prosecutors questioned Tomomasa Nakagawa, 36, a former doctor to Asahara about the incident, but Nakagawa refused to testify, saying that giving details may disadvantage his own trial on a series of alleged cult crimes, including murder and attempted murder.

Nakagawa has taken the witness stand at Asahara’s hearing several times, but has repeatedly refused to talk. Noboru Nakamura, 32, said he was involved in locating Kariya’s house and the notary public office he had worked for. Ikuo Hayashi, 42, another former Aum doctor who is serving a life sentence, said he gave a stimulant to Kariya after he was taken to the Kamikuishiki complex. It was an attempt to make him confess the whereabouts of his sister, but Kariya did not provide the location.

Coronavirus banner