Police discovered several pictures of Aum Supreme Truth cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto in a bag belonging to Katsuya Takahashi, the former Aum member arrested Friday on suspicion of involvement in the March 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system, according to investigative sources.
Naoko Kikuchi, 40, another former Aum member arrested earlier this month, reportedly told police that Takahashi, 54, conducted cult rituals at his hideouts as late as around 2006.
The Metropolitan Police Department suspects Takahashi still believes in Matsumoto, 57, and will interrogate him further on the details.
According to the sources, the police found the pictures of Matsumoto--currently on death row--in a clear file in a bag in a coin locker at JR Tsurumi Station. The bag also contained more than a dozen books, including one written by Matsumoto, a cell phone and three bankbooks in a false name.
Takahashi was quoted by police as saying he took the pictures and books out of a construction company dormitory in Kawasaki as "they might look suspicious [if discovered]."
Takahashi reportedly said he put the bag in the locker on June 6 or 7. However, he "could not take it out because an image of the bag had been released [by police]," he was quoted by the sources as saying. Instead he bought a brown overnight bag and a black bag at a supermarket near the station and near Kamata Station.
Takahashi hid in video shops
Takahashi reportedly said he had hidden in video shops around southern Tokyo and Yokohama since June 4, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
"I moved around various shops with private viewing rooms, first in Tsurumi [in Yokohama], then in Omori and Kamata [both in Ota Ward, Tokyo]," Takahashi was quoted by the investigative sources as saying.
Investigators found Takahashi, 54, on Friday at a manga cafe in Kamata. The MPD arrested him on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.
Takahashi reportedly told police he followed news reports about the police hunt in newspapers and TV, and "felt he was hunted down by media reports."
He was carrying about 4.6 million yen in cash at the time of the arrest. The MPD believes Takahashi intended to stay on the run with the money.
According to a senior official of the MPD, Takahashi withdrew 2.38 million yen from an account at a shinkin bank in Kawasaki on June 4, the day after the arrest of Kikuchi who had been on the run with Takahashi at one time.
He then went to a supermarket in the city and bought a bag, in which he packed the money he had withdrawn and a stash that he had kept at his dorm before fleeing.
Takahashi moved to an area near JR Tsurumi Station in Yokohama, then to areas around Omori and Kamata stations, staying at video shops and other places and eating at restaurants nearby.
He reportedly told police he bought the glasses he was wearing at the time of the arrest at a shop in front of JR Tsurumi Station on June 5, as he thought he would be identified by the glasses he used previously. He used the false name "Shinichi Yoshida"to buy the new glasses.
Takahashi also told police that he heard of Kikuchi's arrest on the night of June 3, when he was working a night shift. But he began preparing to flee the following morning, as he thought it might inconvenience his colleagues if he left in the middle of his shift.
About his 17-year life on the run, Takahashi reportedly said he "could not describe it briefly" as he "had many thoughts about it."
He also was quoted as saying: "I feel sorry for causing a commotion. It's all my fault."
"I changed myself during my life on the run. I didn't know who I was," Takahashi was quoted by the sources as saying.