Japan police tighten security after execution of AUM cult founder

Japan executes Aum Shinrikyo cult leader Shoko Asahara

The BBC stipulates, "Seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult which carried out a deadly chemical attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995 have been executed, including cult leader Shoko Asahara".

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. "I hope they will not launch terror attacks", like the 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture that killed eight people.

Japan's justice ministry confirmed reports that Asahara, who founded the Aum Shinrikyo group, and his followers had been hanged on Friday.

The attack, one of Japan's worst terrorism incidents, killed 13 people and injured over 6,200.

Shoko Asahara, the bearded, self-proclaimed guru who had recruited scientists and others to his cult, was found two months later, hiding in a compartment in a building ceiling. "I think they would find it regrettable that they could not have heard the news of this execution".

The convicted also assaulted and murdered wayward followers and people who helped members leave the cult.

The cult developed sarin, a nerve agent, and members released it in Tokyo's subway system in 1995, killing 13 people and sickening thousands.

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

Aum Shinrikyo still exists and has been designated as a terrorist organization by several nations.

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Half-blind, with a shaggy hair and beard, Asahara was the key figure in the stunningly random and lethal attack targeting Tokyo commuters.

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

The cult has since been renamed Aleph, with an estimated 2,000 members watched closely by authorities, according to the Associated Press.

Human rights agencies opposed to the death sentence have condemned the executions.

He declined to comment on media reports that some of Asahara's followers were also hanged.

In late 1996, Ashara admitted responsibility for the sarin attack but said he was not personally involved in the crime, saying he had been "instructed by God" to shoulder the blame.

Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, had been in prison for 22 years before his execution this week.

They said his death could trigger the naming of a new cult leader, possibly his second son, and his followers could be elevated to the status of "martyrs" among the remaining adherents.

The cult was preparing for the apocalypse, and had more than 10,000 members in Japan alone.

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