Japan police tighten security after execution of AUM cult founder

09 July, 2018, 09:58 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Japan executes Aum Shinrikyo cult leader Shoko Asahara

On March 20, 1995, members of the cult left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on train lines going through Tokyo's political district.

Aum Shinrikyo still exists and has been designated as a terrorist organization by several nations.

The top Japanese government spokesman confirmed Asahara's execution but wouldn't comment on the others. A string of crimes resulted in the deaths of 29 people.

He masterminded a horrific attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, where his cultists released sarin gas inside a packed train.

Fortunately, mistakes made in developing the sarin and its delivery method meant the attack was far less effective than intended, and the group only succeeded in killing 12 and injuring 5,500 people.

In 2004, he was convicted of having killed 27 people in 13 murders and other assaults and kidnappings spanning six years that culminated in the subway attack in his elaborate scheme to hasten Armageddon that he threatened.

Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult that carried out a deadly sarin attack on Tokyo's subway in 1995, was executed on July 6, 2018, local media reported.

Chizuo Matsumoto, who went by the name Shoko Asahara, was the first of 13 scheduled to be hanged for the attacks, which killed 13 dead and injured more than 6,000, NHK said.

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Shizue Takahashi, whose husband was a subway deputy station master who died in the attack, also expressed regret that six of Asahara's followers had been killed.

After his arrest and the start of his trial in April 1996, Asahara began exhibiting baffling behavior in the courtroom and detention facilities, often remaining silent or just mumbling.

Two days after the attack police raided the compounds of the Aum Shinrikyo cult.

The ministry said that as of Friday, the number of death-row inmates with their sentences finalized was at 117, one of whom is under retrial.

Yuji Ogawara, who heads a lawyers' group against the death penalty at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, said the executions do not bring closure to Aum's crimes.

Aleph, a successor group to Aum Shinrikyo, is still involved in a court case over settlements to the victims of the 1995 and other attacks.

Aum Shinrikyo is believed to still have thousands of followers. "Now, I can pay a visit to her grave and tell her of this". The followers of the three groups total about 1,650 in Japan and about 460 in Russian Federation, while the groups hold more than 1 billion yen ($9 million) in assets, according to the agency. Asahara proclaimed that he would take the sins of the world upon himself to save his devoted followers in preparation for the coming third world war he predicted the United States was about to start.

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