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Japan cult member arrested in connection with subway gas attack: report

Japanese police have arrested one of the last fugitive members of Aum Shinrikyo [FAS backgrounder] suspected of involvement in a nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, a Japanese newspaper reported on Monday. The attacks killed 12 people and sickened over 5,500 more. Naoko Kikuchi is one of two suspects of the gas attacks who remains at large. She and her boyfriend were reportedly arrested [BBC report] in Sagamihara, Japan after she was identified by a witness. Japanese police have not confirmed the arrest.

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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