Aum death row inmate blames self for Takahashi

A former senior Aum Supreme Truth cult member on death row claimed responsibility for a fellow former member’s involvement in a series of Aum-committed deadly crimes, in a trial at Tokyo District Court on Wednesday.

Questioned as a witness, Yoshihiro Inoue, 45, said former Aum member Katsuya Takahashi, 56, became involved in the crimes because of orders Inoue gave him as his boss.

“The responsibility lies with me,” Inoue said in the fourth hearing of Takahashi’s trial involving citizen judges.

It was the first time for a former Aum member on death row to appear in the trial of Takahashi, who faces charges including murder using deadly VX gas.

Inoue said Aum guru Chizuo Matsu-moto, 59, who went by the name of Shoko Asahara and is now on death row, named Takahashi as Inoue’s driver in May 1994.

When Asahara ordered his followers in December 1994 to murder a corporate employee in Osaka with VX gas, on the assumption that he was spying on Aum’s activities, Inoue held a discussion with two other Aum members about a sure method for killing the man, and Takahashi was also present at the meeting, according to Inoue.

Takahashi has pleaded not guilty, claiming he thought the VX gas produced by Aum was not deadly.