Police release former Aum fugitive Hirata's photo
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday released photos of former Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Makoto Hirata, taken shortly after he turned himself in at a police station on Dec 31.
Hirata’s hair was longer than in his photos from the mid-1990s. His eyebrows were thinner, but his major facial features had not significantly changed.
Police are hoping that the photos will encourage people who might have seen or known Hirata to come forward with information about where he was and what he has been doing during his 17 years on the run.
Hirata has so far refused to provide any information about the 17 years, only saying that he did not want to get anyone else into trouble.
Hirata told police he took a bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Shinagawa Station on Dec 31. He went to Ebisu for a little while because the Aum cult used to have a branch there and he told police he wanted to have one last walk around the area as a free man.
Hirata said he first went to a police station in Osaki but found no one on duty at the entrance, so he took the Hibiya subway line to Kasumigaseki Station. When he tried to turn himself in at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police department, a riot police officer thought he was a prankster and told him to go to a local police station 700 meters away.
The National Police Agency said Friday it had instructed all officers to memorize the names and physical features of criminals on the wanted list.