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Japan authorites arrest last suspect in subway gas attack

Japanese police on Friday arrested the last major suspect accused of involvement in a nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. The attacks, allegedly orchestrated by a Japan-based cult known as Aum Shinrikyo [FAS backgrounder], killed 13 people and sickened more than 5,500 more. Katsuya Takahashi, a former member of the cult, was arrested on Friday [NYT report] on charges associated with the deadly gas attack and other crimes tied to Aum Shinrikyo. Takahashi's arrest comes less than two weeks after the arrest [JURIST report] of Naoko Kikuchi, another cult member suspected of involvement in the gas attacks. Police intensified their search for Takahashi [AP report] after he was seen on a security camera in Tokyo last week.

Authorities in the past year have come close to ending the investigation and prosecution of suspects in the 1995 gas attacks. In January, police arrested Makoto Hirata [BBC report], another Aum Shinrikyo member connected to the attacks. To date, 200 members of the cult have been convicted of crimes relating to gas attacks, with 13 facing the death penalty. Among those sentenced to death are prominent member Seiicho Endo [JURIST report] and cult leader Shoko Asahara [BBC profile; JURIST report].

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