1995 shooting of police chief goes unsolved

Kyodo News

The statute of limitations for the shooting of the National Police Agency chief in 1995 in Tokyo was set to run out at midnight Monday with no one ever being charged in the attempted murder.

The Metropolitan Police Department committed massive resources to the investigation on suspicion that the Aum Shinrikyo cult was involved but never found any hard evidence.

NPA Commissioner General Takaji Kunimatsu was shot and severely wounded in front of his home in Arakawa Ward on March 30, 1995, eight days after the police launched massive raids on Aum following the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

In May 1996, a former Tokyo police officer who was an Aum Shinrikyo follower turned himself in, telling investigators he had shot Kunimatsu. The police department tried to cover up the confession and investigated the officer in secret. He was placed under police “protection” and interrogated without due process of law.

After an insider tip to the media revealed the secret investigation, which wasn’t reported to the NPA, Metropolitan Police Superintendent General Yukihiko Inoue resigned to take responsibility.

The police started a new probe from scratch. The alleged gunman and three others linked to the cult were arrested in 2004 in connection with the shooting, but prosecutors later decided not to indict them due to a lack of evidence.