February 18, 2019

Japan doomsday cult leader executed 23 years after Tokyo sarin attack

08 July 2018, 05:04 | Devin Moran

Report: Leader of Japan Doomsday Cult Executed

Japan executes ex-leader of cult behind subway sarin attack that killed 13 – report

Asahara, who founded Aum Shinrikyo in 1987, was captured two months after the attack in one of the cult's buildings. The incident left Japan stunned, its population used to a low crime rate and unaccustomed to terrorism.

Asahara's death sentence was finalized in 2006, according to NHK, but trials of his co-conspirators dragged on for a further 12 years.

Cult members have said they believed Asahara's prophesy that an apocalypse was coming and they alone would survive it.

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. The date of their executions is not known. The Japanese government has been accused of seeking to kill off the Aum prisoners to tidy up before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Japanese authorities said they were on alert for potential retaliation after the executions and local media reported police were visiting groups linked to the Aum and successor cults. "I think they would find it regrettable that they could not have heard the news of this execution".

The cult claimed 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation.

Doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara and six of his followers were executed Friday for their roles in a deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subways and other crimes, closing a chapter on one of Japan's most shocking crimes in recent memory.

Shoji said the seven deserved to be punished for the "despicable" attacks but "the death penalty is never the answer".

"Justice demands accountability but also respect for everyone's human rights".

Anti-death penalty activists say a lack of information and increased interest in victims' rights are partly behind the support. In 1992, Matsumoto, who had changed his name to Shoko Asahara, published a foundational book, declaring himself to be "Christ", Japan's only fully enlightened master, as well as identifying himself as the "Lamb of God".

His followers claimed their guru, who dressed in Chinese-style pyjama tunics, had extra-sensory powers and could levitate for hours at a time.

The following are brief descriptions of three major criminal cases involving the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult. That group is still the subject of surveillance and raids by the Japanese police. "Once he got angry, there was no way to stop it", a former classmate once said.

Matsumoto said her family members had long demanded he be treated, Matsumoto said, but the Tokyo detention center and courts refused, saying he was in good health. "I would like to work on compensation and to make sure such crimes never happen again".

Aum Shinrikyo split into Hikari no Wa and Aleph in 2007. Here, Shoko Asahara sits on a throne on a Moscow stage as he meets with followers on February 17, 1994.The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty ImagesDOOMSDAY CULTShoko Asahara (center) and members of his cult when they formed their own political party on January 7, 1990. With Asahara's execution, he hoped this fear would go away.

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