Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Japan Executes Aum Shinrikyo Cult Leader

Japan Executes Aum Shinrikyo Cult Leader

Other members from bottom left to right, Yoshihiro Inoue, Tomomitsu Nimi, and Kiyohide Hayakawa.

"Their death penalties had been finalized after sufficient deliberations at courts", Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said at a press conference in the afternoon, adding that she made careful considerations before ordering the executions on Tuesday.

He was on death row for about 14 years.

Asahara was among the seven executed on Friday.

Since an effective moratorium ended in 2010, Japan has executed as many as eight people a year.

"The death penalty can never deliver this as it is the ultimate denial of human rights", Hiroka Shoji, the group's East Asia Researcher, said in a statement.

Dozens of Aum Shinrikyo members were arrested after months of raids by police on hundreds of locations across Japan.

On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the subway in the Japanese capital.

The relatives of those killed in the attack, and others who were injured welcomed the executions.

Victims of AUM crimes and their families largely welcomed the move, which came decades after the crimes were committed due to prolonged trials.

She said the crime affected not only Japan but also sowed fear overseas.

The cult's most notorious crime was the release of sarin gas on Tokyo subways in 1995.

"A third of my life has been affected by AUM".

"When I heard the news, I reacted calmly. but I did feel the world had become slightly brighter", he said.

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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said authorities are taking precautionary measures in case of any retaliation by his followers.

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 Public Security Intelligence Agency on the same day inspected Aleph offices and other related sites nationwide. "I hope they will not launch terror attacks", like the 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture that killed eight people.

This September 1995 photo shows cult leader Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto.

Shizue Takahashi, whose husband was a subway deputy station master who died in the attack, also expressed regret that six of Asahara's followers had been killed.

Japan's Justice Ministry announced the executions of Asahara, 63, and his followers.

In Japan, death sentences are not carried out until the verdict against all accused and accomplices are final, with no pending appeals left against any of the group.

Twelve other members of Aum Shinrikyo were sentenced to death for their roles in the 1995 attack.

There has been strong public support for the Aum convicts to be put to death.

Aum Shinrikyo is believed to still have thousands of followers.

The cult went underground after the 1995 attack, but did not disappear, eventually renaming itself Aleph or Hikari no Wa.

The legal proceedings had been dragged out, but recent Japanese media reports said the executions were expected.

"I've been in pain for years".

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