Japan executes AUM doomsday cult founder Asahara, 6 members


Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult that carried out a deadly sarin attack on Tokyo's subway in 1995, was executed on Friday.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that authorities are taking precautionary measures in case of any retaliation by his followers.

The Aum Shinri Kyo, or Aum Supreme Truth cult, which mixed Buddhist and Hindu meditation with apocalyptic teachings, staged a series of crimes including simultaneous sarin gas attacks on Tokyo subway trains during rush hour in March 1995.

Japanese media reports say doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed.

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.

The Aum Shinrikyo cult was founded by Shoko Asahara, also known as Chizuo Matsumoto (above). "Thinking that makes me feel frustrated", Takahashi said.

Shoko Asahara, who masterminded the attack in which 13 people died and more than 6,000 others fell ill, was hanged at a detention centre, reports said, citing justice ministry sources.

Asahara was sentenced to death after a lengthy prosecution during which he regularly delivered rambling and incoherent monologues in English and Japanese.

The Japanese Tribunal has prosecuted about 190 cult members for the attacks and other related crimes, including the 1989 murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family, and passed six life sentences and 13 death sentences. The sarin gas attack the cult carried out in Tokyo shattered Japan's sense of public safety. At its peak, Asahara had tens of thousands of followers worldwide. After the 1995 attack and arrests, the much-reduced cult went underground and eventually reimerged as a spinoff group called Adelph.

After he and 24 other AUM members unsuccessfully ran in the House of Representatives election in 1990 in an attempt to take over the state, he started planning mass murders of members of the public in revenge, according to the prosecutors.

Rights group Amnesty International said justice demanded accountability but also respect for civil rights.

In a rare interview in 2006, two of Asahara's four daughters told The Associated Press that never in dozens of visits to him in prison had they had a real conversation.

And the execution of Asahara's followers risks elevating them to "martyrs" in the eyes of remaining cult adherents, warned Taro Takimoto, a lawyer for relatives of cultists, in an interview with AFP earlier this year.

Over the years, the group managed to lure in followers from some of Japan's top universities and boasted some 10,000 followers in Japan and another 30,000 in Russian Federation.