Profiles of the 7 Doomsday Cult Members Executed in Japan

Profiles of the 7 Doomsday Cult Members Executed in Japan

Profiles of the 7 Doomsday Cult Members Executed in Japan

Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult left sarin, a deadly nerve agent, in plastic bags on subway cars and poked the bags with umbrellas before fleeing.

"I wanted them to talk more about the attacks when considering anti-terrorism measures". The court had ordered the death penalty for 13 people linked to the cult. However, ultimately, the death penalty was given to Shoko Asahara and others high in the chain of this organization.

The 1995 Tokyo attack prompted a massive crackdown on the cult's headquarters and the arrest of Asahara and other group members.

Yoko Kamikawa, the justice minister, said that she had approved the executions... She signed the execution order on Tuesday.

Many members were engineers and scientists-some of whom tested sarin and other toxic gases on an Australian sheep farm. "I wanted (cult members) to confess more about the incident, so it's a pity that we can not hear their account anymore".

The Aum cult, now renamed Aleph, officially disowned Asahara in 2000, but it has never been banned and experts say the former guru retained a strong influence.

Asahara and five of the six executed were implicated in the subway attack.

The death of Asahara appeared to draw the curtain on the cult's shocking crimes, which included not only the 1995 subway attack but also a similar, smaller sarin attack the previous year along with other attacks using the deadly chemical VX.

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"This gave me peace of mind", Kiyoe Iwata, who lost her daughter in the subway attack, told broadcaster NHK. "So, I have some regret", she said. He called it appropriate. Following a tip from imprisoned cult members in 1995, police discovered Mr. Sakamoto's buried remains after a widely televised search.

Founded in 1984, the cult attracted many young people, even graduates of top universities, whom Asahara hand-picked as close aides. "But I did feel the world had become slightly brighter", said Atsushi Sakahara, a film director who was injured in the sarin attack at Tokyo's Roppongi station. Thousands were affected, and 13 people ultimately died.

Tomomasa Nakagawa, a doctor also executed Friday, and several other cultists broke into the Sakamotos' apartment late at night, strangled them to death and buried them in the mountains.

The seven people were executed at several facilities, the largest number executed at one time since 1998, when the justice ministry started releasing information on executions, officials said.

Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara had been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes. The cult's activities in various parts of Japan sparked anxiety years after the sarin gas attack.

Born as Chizuo Matsumoto, Asahara changed his name in 1980s, when Aum was being developed. Below he is seen in a TV image from 2003.

Aum Shinrikyo's killings began in November 1989, when lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto - who was working on a class action case against the cult - was brutally murdered along with his wife and child.

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