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Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Japan police tighten security after execution of AUM cult founder

Japan police tighten security after execution of AUM cult founder

The Aum Shinri Kyo, or Aum Supreme Truth cult, which mixed Buddhist and Hindu meditation with apocalyptic teachings, staged a series of crimes including simultaneous sarin gas attacks on Tokyo subway trains during rush hour in March 1995.

Six other cultists remain on death row for the Tokyo subway attack.

Asahara was one of seven members of the cult hanged this week. Some followers are believed to still worship Asahara and could increasingly view him as divine after his execution, according to the official.

Many members were engineers and scientists-some of whom tested sarin and other toxic gases on an Australian sheep farm.

Asahara and 12 of his followers were sentenced to death and five others received life sentences. The sarin gas attack also shattered Japan's public safety image. 191 members of the cult, which counted thousands of members at its peak, have been indicted for various offenses. Japanese media reports say on Friday, July 6, 2018, Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed.

Kamikawa said the attack was an indiscriminate terrorist act that involved a chemical weapon and terrified people not only in Japan but also overseas.

Although, Aum Shinrikyo's killings started way before the 1995 subway attack.

His group became large and powerful enough to make a run at Japanese politics and included a number of highly educated young professionals at its height, giving it the money, managerial skill, and technical know-how to run both an illegal drug ring and an electronics subsidiary.

He was visually impaired and attended a school for the blind, where he was known as a manipulative leader of other students, a role he continued with Aum Shinrikyo.

In 2016, Russian police carried out several raids against suspected members in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The trains were scheduled to arrive at central Kasumigaseki station within four minutes of each other, and the cult hoped not only to kill everyone on board, but also use the trains to deliver the gas to a massive interchange used by thousands of passengers at a time.

Asahara himself was arrested in May 1995, and indicted on 17 charges ranging from murder to illegal production of weapons and drugs. The cult's activities in various parts of Japan sparked anxiety years after the sarin gas attack.

His family had said he was mentally incompetent, making it impossible for him to be executed as stipulated in Japan's law of criminal procedure.

Born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the south-western island of Kyushu, Asahara changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed. Numerous victim's families were not happy they were not informed of the decision and wanted more answers related to the attack prior to the executions.

Between 2012 and 2016, 24 people were executed, according to the most recent justice ministry data.

During his trial Asahara said little, and he yawned and muttered incoherently when he was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2004.

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