Tokyo Sarin attack: Executed Japanese cult leader cremated

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Tokyo, July 9 (IANS) The remains of Shoko Asahara, founder of the Supreme Truth sect, were cremated on Monday here after he was executed for perpetrating the Tokyo subway nerve gas attacks in 1995.

The 63-year-old, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, was hanged on Friday, along with another six of the 13 members of the sect (known as Aum Shinrikyo in Japanese) who were sentenced to death for the 1995 attacks that killed 13 and left scores in an almost vegetative state, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Asahara’s ashes were kept in police custody and the Justice Ministry was coordinating with his lawyer about transferring them.

Before his execution, Asahara had asked for his remains to be handed over to his fourth daughter, aged 29, although his wife and four other children have made claims on the ashes.

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Asahara’s fourth daughter had cut all ties with the rest of her family and members of the sect.

Since the cult leader’s execution, authorities have tightened vigilance over former members and groups which emerged from the cult. NHK reported that authorities also tightened security around the crematorium.

Followers of Aum Shinrikyo released the deadly nerve gas in a number of subway trains during the morning rush hours on March 20, 1995.

The Japanese justice system prosecuted about 190 members of Aum for the attacks and other related crimes and passed six life sentences and 13 death sentences, out of which six are yet to be carried out.

The sect, which revolved around Asahara’s personality cult, was formed in the beginning of 1980s and grew rapidly to reach around 10,000 followers in Japan and abroad at its peak.

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–IANS

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