Aum’s Hirata charged with kidnapping, confinement


Prosecutors Friday charged Aum Shinrikyo ex-fugitive Makoto Hirata with abducting and confining a Tokyo notary who was believed killed in captivity in 1995.

Hirata, 46, who turned himself in to Tokyo police on Dec. 31 following nearly 17 years on the run, was arrested on New Year’s Day in connection with the charges he was wanted on: abduction and confinement resulting in death. Based on trial testimony by Aum defendants, the victim, Kiyoshi Kariya, 68, chief clerk at a notary office, died from an overdose of a drug used as a truth serum to get him to reveal the whereabouts of his sister, who had fled Aum after giving the cult millions of yen.

Tokyo prosecutors did not charge Hirata over Kariya’s death because they reportedly lacked sufficient evidence to prove he administered the lethal injection.

Hirata claimed to investigators that he heard after the fact that the notary had been given a fatal overdose, and investigators who questioned other cultists convicted in the Kariya case found no clear evidence or direct mention that he was involved in the killing. Hirata has admitted he drove a lookout car during Kariya’s February 1995 abduction.