A senior Aum Shinrikyo member on death row downplayed during testimony Tuesday at the Tokyo District Court the involvement of Makoto Hirata in the 1995 abduction and confinement of a Tokyo notary.

It was the first time since the lay judge system came into being in 2009 that a convict waiting for the death penalty has been summoned to the witness stand.

In the fourth session of Hirata's lay judge trial, Tomomasa Nakagawa, 51, a former doctor sentenced to death for his involvement in a series of heinous crimes committed by Aum Shinrikyo members, testified in favor of Hirata, who has stated that he only drove the getaway car and did not know of the cult's plan to kidnap and torture Tokyo notary Kiyoshi Kariya.