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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 4 - 10  > What are sentiments of persons involved regarding executions of cult's head and 6 executive followers?
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2018 July 4 - 10 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

What are sentiments of persons involved regarding executions of cult's head and 6 executive followers?

July 7, 2018

Former leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult Asahara Shoko (real name: Matsumoto Chizuo) has been executed. The executions of six former executives in the cult have also been carried out. It is now impossible to find out why they had played an active part in the deadly attacks and why they had followed Asahara's instructions.

Why the police and government agencies had not fully investigated this cult and regulated its activities until after the Tokyo subway sarin-nerve gas attack occurred in 1995 are still unknown.

About the executions of the seven, persons involved now have mixed emotions.

Tokyo subway sarin gas attack victims' association

Takahashi Shizue is the wife of an assistant stationmaster who was killed in the sarin attack. She is head of the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack victims' association. Takahashi held a press conference at the judicial press club in the government office district of Kasumigaseki on July 6.

She calmly said, "I have taken it granted that Asahara would be executed one day. That day turned out to be today. That's all." However, regarding the other six criminals, she said, "I wanted them to talk more about the case. It's regrettable that we will no longer be able to find out the truth from them."

Law firm where a murdered lawyer belonged

Sakamoto Tsutsumi was a lawyer critical of Aum. Since May 1989, he had been active in negotiating with the Aum Shinrikyo. He had also helped establish an association of Aum victims, but he and all his family members including his one-year-old baby were killed in the same year by cult members. The Yokohama Law Office where Sakamoto worked published a statement on July 6.

In the statement, the law firm mentioned that it had long called on the condemned prisoners to tell the truth and wholeheartedly apologize to the victims. The statement says, with their executions, "The core part of the case will continue to be left in darkness."

The mother of lawyer Sakamoto

The mother of Sakamoto, Sachiyo issued a comment in which she said, "I think Asahara was meant to be executed. But at the same time, I feel bad about taking someone's life even if it is a capital punishment."

Villager living in the vicinity of Aum facilities

Takeuchi Seiichi had pointed to Aum for its dangerous nature since well before the sarin attack together with many other residents of the village of Kamiku Isshiki (Yamanashi Pref.) where Aum facilities were located. He later became a Japanese Communist Party member of the Village assembly.

Takeuchi said, "It's unfortunate that the cult chief's execution will close the case without uncovering important truths regarding the case as a whole." He also said, "The process of how such a large number of young people became Aum believers and got deeply involved with the group of murderers behind the Tokyo subway sarin attack is still unclear. Responses to concerns by administrative bodies and the police had been so inadequate that they could not stop Aum from increasing in size and influence." Regarding the executions except for Asahara’s, Takeuchi candidly stated, "I cannot tell if their executions were the right thing or not."
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