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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 4 - 10  > Gov’t executes leader and 6 members of Aum cult responsible for deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo
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2018 July 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t executes leader and 6 members of Aum cult responsible for deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo

July 7, 2018

The Justice Ministry on July 6 announced the execution of seven death sentences against the guru and six top members of Aum Shinrikyo, a cult which carried out the deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo in 1995 along with other serious crimes.

The cult committed more than ten crimes, including the 1995 indiscriminate nerve gas attack in subway trains in the center of Tokyo. The string of crimes killed 29 people and injured more than 6,000 in total. The seven were the first to be executed among the 13 condemned criminals involved in the crimes.

The Aum cult was founded in 1984 by Matsumoto Chizuo, commonly known as Asahara Shoko. The cult is said to have had around 10,000 followers at its peak. In the late 1980s, the leader began to show extremist tendencies, justifying killing persons who he deemed to be enemies. The cult secretly produced poison gases and automatic rifles in its facilities.

Matsumoto was arrested in 1995 after the sarin attack in Tokyo. He was found guilty of all the crimes by Aum and received the death sentence, which was finalized in 2006.

In January this year, all Aum-related criminal cases involving 192 defendants were brought to a close. Still, no one knows for sure why so many people believed Aum’s teachings and why some of them even committed murder under the instructions of the guru.

A group of families of former Aum believers and an organization offering support for victims of cults have long said that concerning the condemned criminals with the exception of Matsumoto, it is best to wait for them to tell the truth before their executions.
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