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Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Aum Shinrikyo: Images from the 1995 Tokyo Sarin attack

Aum Shinrikyo: Images from the 1995 Tokyo Sarin attack

The sarin gas attack the cult carried out in Tokyo shattered Japan's sense of public safety.

A Japanese government spokesman confirmed Asahara's death and said six other members of Aum Shinrikyo had also been executed.

Tokyo―The leader of the Japanese doomsday cult that carried out a deadly 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway was executed Friday along with six of his followers, decades after the horrific crime.

"When I think of those who died because of them, it was a pity (my husband's) parents and my parents could not hear the news of this execution", she said.

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.

Though sentenced to death in 2004, Asahara's execution was delayed until all those convicted has completed their final appeals.

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.

Asahara was aware of a police raid scheduled for March 22, 1995, and had planned the Tokyo subway attack in order to hinder police investigations into the cult and perhaps to spark the global apocalypse.

Born as Chizuo Matsumoto, Asahara changed his name in 1980s, when Aum was being developed.

At Aum's peak in 1995, the number of members exceeded 10,000, but now only about 1,650 members belong to the groups that originated from Aum.

Founded in 1984, the cult attracted many young people, even graduates of top universities, whom Asahara hand-picked as close aides. There are still thought to be about 2,000 active followers of Asahara's teachings, not all of them based in Japan; a sizable splinter group exists in Russian Federation, and in 2016 several dozen cultists were caught doing something vaguely sinister in Montenegro.

The attack during the capital's notoriously crowded rush hour paralysed the Japanese capital, turning it into a virtual warzone as injured people staggered out of the underground struggling for breath and with watering eyes.

Tomomasa Nakagawa, a doctor also executed Friday, and several other cultists broke into the Sakamotos' apartment late at night, strangled them to death and buried them in the mountains.

Thirteen people died and thousands were injured when cult members released the nerve agent in liquid form at five points on the train system. The attack stunned Japan at a time when it was considered one of the safest countries in the world.

Others keeled over, foaming at the mouth, with blood streaming from their noses.

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.

The head of one spinoff cult, Fumihiro Joyu of Hikari no Wa ("The Circle of Rainbow Light"), apologized for the crimes of Aum Shinrikyo on Friday.

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