Japan doomsday cult leader executed 23 years after Tokyo sarin attack

Frederick Owens
July 9, 2018

TOKYO-The head of a Japanese doomsday cult responsible for deadly gas attacks in the 1990s was executed on Friday, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Members of the his Aum Shinrikyo cult punctured plastic bags to release sarin nerve gas inside train cars, killing 13 people and sickening more than 6,000.

The attacks were the deadliest terrorist incident in Japan. Police also found laboratories to produce LSD, methamphetamine, a form of truth serum, and various other drugs after raiding the cult's compound. "I have always been wondering why it had to be my daughter and why she had to be killed".

"I've been in pain for years", he told AFP.

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.

He was among 13 people placed on death row in connection with the series of crimes perpetrated by the doomsday cult.

The attack killed eight people and injured more than 100. Japan does not take executions lightly, she said at a press conference, but felt they were warranted by the seriousness of the crimes.

"Today's executions are unprecedented in recent memory for Japan".

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The hangings Friday are the largest simultaneous execution in Japan since 1911, when 11 people were hanged for plotting to assassinate the emperor. It is unclear whether they were also executed this week. Therefore, with all legal appeals of other death row inmates being exhausted, then now is a time to close the book on this bad event while never forgetting.

The images of bodies, many in business suits, sprawled across subway platforms stunned Japan, and triggered public safety steps such as the removal of non-transparent rubbish bins that remain in force to this day.

On June 27, 1994, members sprayed sarin gas from a custom-made vehicle in a residential area of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, about 100 miles west of Tokyo. An eighth person died after being in a coma for a decade.

FILE - In this March 20, 1995, file photo, subway passengers affected by sarin nerve gas in the central Tokyo subway trains are carried into St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo.

Asahara was 63 years old. His family has said he was a broken man, constantly wetting and soiling the floor of his prison cell and not communicating with his family or lawyers.

"The death system is very much criticized by the global community, and there are still issues involving those seeking retrial or death sentences for those suspected to be mentally incompetent", Ogawara said.

Asahara told his followers he is the incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration, and urged them to entrust themselves and their assets to Shiva and himself for life, according to prosecutors who indicted him.

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