Japan executes cult leader, followers behind deadly Tokyo subway attack

Howard TerryJul 08, 2018

The leader of a cult in Japan whose followers released deadly gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 13 people and injuring thousands, was executed on Friday.

In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin on three lines of the Tokyo Metro during rush hour. The attack had killed 13 people and injured thousands more. Japanese media reports say Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed. Kamikawa announced the deaths on Friday at a press conference, saying, "These crimes. plunged people not only in Japan but in other countries as well into deadly fear and shook society to its core".

The cult's main doctrine followed Shoko Asahara as the first "enlightened one" on Earth since Buddha, who preached that the apocalypse would begin with America and Japan entering World War III either in 1006 or between 1999 and 2003. The sarin gas attack the cult carried out in Tokyo shattered Japan's sense of public safety.

Since those proceedings finished earlier this year, the days of the Aum Shinrikyo members had been numbered, even as opponents of the death penalty attempted to block the executions.

Aum Shinrikyo attracted young, well-educated adherents, including scientists who then helped produce the poisons used in the cult's attacks.

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. "I hope they will not launch terror attacks", like the 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture that killed eight people.

Hikari no Wa promotes itself as having broken away from Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara.

He was also convicted of the murders of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who had been helping parents seeking to free their children of the cult's control, and his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989.

The cult claimed 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation.

They were following instructions from the Asahara, who claimed to be a reincarnation of the Hindu god Shiva and promised to lead his followers to salvation when impending Armageddon arrived. Six other cult members remain on death row.

In 1996, Asahara admitted to the responsibility of the attack, however, he said "God instructed him" to take blame and he was not to be held personally responsible for it.

It is extremely complex to label the religious fundamentals of Aum Shinrikyo.

Shizue Takahashi, whose subway worker husband was killed in the attack, told reporters she felt Asahara's execution was entirely appropriate.

The following are brief descriptions of three major acts of violence by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult. The cult's activities in various parts of Japan sparked anxiety years after the sarin gas attack.

She said the seven hanged was the most in one day since Japan started disclosing the number in 1998.

The Public Security Intelligence Agency continued to monitor the groups, believing they were still under the influence of Asahara.

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