Japan doomsday cult leader executed for sarin gas attack

Japan doomsday cult leader executed for sarin gas attack

As well as killing the 13, the attack injured at least 5,800 people, some permanently.

He "lured young people, who felt a sense of emptiness in Japanese society", she said.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Germany wants "the unconditional abolition of the death penalty and we convey this position toward friendly states as well".

Asahara was born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu and changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed. "That was my only thought", said Shizue Takahashi, 71, who lost her then-50-year-old husband, the assistant stationmaster Kazumasa, in the Tokyo subway sarin attack, adding many others had been waiting for the day. Thereby, the New Era, to be named next year, will not be blighted by the most terrifying terrorist attack that hit Japan during the Heisei Era.

FILE - In this September 25, 1995, file photo, Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara, center, sits in a police van following an interrogation in Tokyo. Matsumoto, also known under the alias Shoko Asahara, is reportedly the first of 13 individuals scheduled to be executed for their roles in orchestrating the 1995 sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway.

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

This February 1995, photo shows facilities of Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult led by its guru Shoko Asahara in Kamikuishiki at the foot of Mount Fuji, background, Japan.

Kiyoe Iwata told Japanese broadcaster NHK by phone Friday that his death gives her piece of mind.


"I cheered when I heard he'd been killed, but worry that his former followers might deify him and do something". He called it appropriate.

They fear his death may trigger the naming of a new cult leader, possibly his second son.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said only that the Justice Ministry would make an announcement later Friday.

He declined to comment on media reports that some of Asahara's followers were also hanged. The subway attack killed 13 people and sickened more than 6,000.

Japanese media broke into regular programming to report the news. They cite unidentified sources.

With their deaths, Japan will now have to grapple with the aftermath of unanswered questions over the crimes - with no longer any chance of hearing explanations directly from Asahara or the six others.

Under instructions from Aum leader Shoko Asahara, 15 senior members conspired to take plastic bags containing sarin onto five Tokyo subway trains, which were converging at Kasumigaseki Station in the city's government district, and release the poison by puncturing the bags with umbrellas, vaporizing the nerve agent, during the morning rush hour on March 20, 1995.

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