Remaining Members of Doomsday Cult in Japan Executed

Six members of a Japanese doomsday cult held responsible for the deaths of dozens of people have been executed, according to Japan’s justice minister.

 

The group’s leader Shoko Asahara — real name Chizuo Matsumoto — was executed earlier in July, along with six other members of the cult, which was responsible for a sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway in 1995.

Other members of Aum Shinrikyo who had been sentenced to death were hanged Thursday morning, Justice Minister Yoko Kawakami told reporters.

The Tokyo attack was part of a murder spree throughout the country that left 29 people dead. The subway attack itself killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000 others.

Kawakami said that the “extremely heinous” crimes of the cult had been “carefully organized and planned,” and that attacks of this magnitude “should never happen again.”

Called the attack “indiscriminate terrorism against the public that shocked the world,” she said it “shook society with fear, (that) a chemical weapon like sarin was used.”

One of those executed Thursday, Kazuaki Okazaki, was one of the first people to join the cult and was instrumental in growing the group’s membership. He was implicated in some of the group’s earliest killings — of a lawyer and his family, as well as a follower who tried to leave the cult in 1989.

Another cult member, Yasuo Hayashi, was directly involved in the Tokyo sarin gas attack and other attacks in central Japan, according to state broadcaster NHK.

 

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