Prosecutors asked Thursday for a 12-year prison term for ex-Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Makoto Hirata, saying that despite his denials, he knew what he was doing when he took part in the "malicious" 1995 kidnapping and confinement of a Tokyo notary and other crimes.

"The role he played in the organized crimes was not at all minor," the prosecutors said in their closing statement at the Tokyo District Court. "He terrified people in society by staying on the run for around 17 years."

Aside from the kidnapping of Kiyoshi Kariya, Hirata is accused of two other counts, including the 1995 bombing of a university professor's condominium.