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Japan

Last Fugitive From Tokyo Gas Attack Arrested After 17 Years On The Run

Worldcrunch

THE JAPAN TIMES, THE MAINICHI (Japan)

TOKYO - Katsuya Takahashi, the last fugitive from the Aum Shirinkyo cult that launched a sarin attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, was arrested in the capital on Friday morning. The 54-year-old had been on the run for the past 17 years, until someone spotted him in a manga café and called the police.

Takahashi's capture came after the June 3 arrest of Naoko Kikuchi, also suspected in the attack that killed 13 and sickened 6,000 others, the Japan Times reports. Between 2001 and 2006, the two were living together in Kawasaki, on the outskirts of Tokyo, pretending to be a couple. When he learned of Kikuchi's arrest, Takahashi fled the construction company dormitory where he had been living under a false name.

The Mainichi reports that police authorities organized a large manhunt to find Takashi after Kikuchi spilled the beans on where he was living, and what false name he was using. They will now try to determine what role he played in the 1995 attack and how he managed to elude capture without organizational support. According to the Mainichi, Takashi is suspected of driving fellow cultist Toru Toyota to a subway station to carry out one of the sarin attacks. Toyota is on death row, along with cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto and 11 others convicted of planning the gas attack and for plotting other crimes.

Photo- Aum members on a wanted poster in a police station (松岡明芳)

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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