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Ex-AUM member Saito got health insurance card under fake name.

TOKYO, Jan. 13 Kyodo

A former AUM Shinrikyo follower obtained a health insurance certificate under a fictitious name through her employer in Osaka while she sheltered a fugitive former senior member of the cult for nearly 17 years, investigative sources said Friday.

Akemi Saito, 49, opened a bank account and subscribed to a mobile phone service, using the certificate before her arrest on Tuesday for harboring Makoto Hirata, 46, wanted in a 1995 kidnap-killing case, the sources said.

Saito and Hirata separately turned themselves in to Tokyo police.

Saito worked at an osteopathic clinic in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, for more than 10 years. She stayed with the clinic not to lose the certificate as her only ID card, the sources said.

In an application form for the certificate, Saito filled in her name as Shoko Yoshikawa and birth date six years later than the actual date, while the clinic did not ask her to submit her family resister and resident card, according to it.

Lawyer Taro Takimoto, who accompanied her when she surrendered to police, quoted her as saying, ''I could just get it (health insurance certificate).''

Saito used the certificate to receive medical treatment at hospitals and became a member of a rental video shop, Takimoto said.

While she kept 8 million yen in cash in her apartment before submitting it to the police, she made payments, such as Internet service fees, through her bank account under the fake name.

The whereabouts of Hirata and Saito became unknown after police searched key AUM facilities in 1995 following the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March that year.

They hid in Osaka Prefecture for more than 15 years after staying in northeastern Japan areas, Takimoto quoted Saito as saying.

Meanwhile, Masayoshi Sakaguchi, head of the Osaka prefectural police department, told police station chiefs at their meeting to make all-out efforts to arrest two AUM members still at large -- Katsuya Takahashi and Naoko Kikuchi.

He apparently made the instruction with the fact in mind that there are now many police officers who were recruited after a series of crimes involving AUM members.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 17, 2012
Words:355
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