Mastermind of deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo executed

Clay Curtis
July 8, 2018

As well as plotting the subway sarin gas attack, in which 13 commuters and station staff died, Asahara was found guilty on 13 other counts, including.

Under instructions from Asahara, six AUM members strangled 33-year-old lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who had been helping parents seeking to free their children from the cult's control, as well as his 29-year-old wife Satoko and their 1-year-old son Tatsuhiko, after sneaking into the family's home in Yokohama, near Tokyo, in the early hours of November 4, 1989. Other members from bottom left to right, Yoshihiro Inoue, Tomomitsu Nimi, and Kiyohide Hayakawa.

Doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed, Japanese media reports say.

The 1995 subway attack was the most audacious. "I have always been wondering why it had to be my daughter and why she had to be killed". She added she would visit her daughter's grave to let her know.

He said that more than 10 years after he left the cult, he had "no special feeling" for Asahara, but had still been somewhat nervous about the potential repercussions for criticizing him in public. Thirteen people died in the attack, while more than 6,000 were sickened with symptoms that included being blinded or paralyzed. A further six cult followers remain on death row.

In this 2015 photo, Tokyo subway workers offered silent prayer 20 years after the poison gas attack.

"Their death penalties had been finalized after sufficient deliberations at courts", Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said at a press conference in the afternoon, adding that she made careful considerations before ordering the executions on Tuesday.

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Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said the death sentences were deserved because the systematically plotted crimes were so heinous and prompted fears of terrorism both in Japan and overseas.

She said the crime affected not only Japan but also sowed fear overseas.

Born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu, he changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed. Asahara hand-picked some as close aides.

In Asahara's eight-year trial, he spoke incoherently and never explained the motive for the attacks or acknowledged responsibility. 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.

Some survivors of the cult's crimes opposed the executions, saying they would end hopes for a fuller explanation of the crimes.

Despite the horror that persists over the Aum's subway attack and other crimes, some experts had warned against the execution of Asahara and his acolytes.

A Japanese doomsday cult leader who masterminded the worst terror attack in the country's history has been executed by hanging.

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