Japan Executes Cult Leader, Six Members

Shoko Asahara whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto

The execution of Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara leaves unanswered questions about Aum Shinrikyo, the cult behind the 1995 sarin-gas attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 13 people and sickened 6,000.

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

The subway attack was the most notorious of the cult's crimes, which was blamed for 27 deaths in all.

The German government has described the death penalty as "inhumane and cruel" after Japan hanged seven members of the doomsday cult that poisoned commuters in a deadly subway attack in 1995.

Kamikawa announced the deaths on Friday at a press conference, saying, "These crimes. plunged people not only in Japan but in other countries as well into deadly fear and shook society to its core". "I think they would find it regrettable that they could not have heard the news of this execution".

Even before the attack, in 1989, lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who opposed the cult, his wife and baby boy were murdered by cult members.

Shoko Asahara was the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo or Aum Supreme Truth cult that was responsible for releasing sarin gas on five Tokyo subway trains during the rush hour in 1995, killing 13 people and poisoning more than 6,000 others.

Executions are rare in Japan but surveys show most people support the death sentence.

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

The injured of the deadly gas attack are treated by rescue workers near Tsukiji subway station in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Shoko Asahara sits on a throne on a Moscow stage as he meets with followers on February 17, 1994.The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty ImagesDOOMSDAY CULTShoko Asahara (center) and members of his cult when they formed their own political party on January 7, 1990. The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomitting, BBC News reports.

It renamed itself Aleph in 2000 and two splinter groups have been formed, including one established by high-profile former member Fumihiro Joyu.

Asahara was born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu and changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed.

Amnesty International said today that executions "do not deliver justice."

He pleaded not guilty and never testified, but muttered and made incoherent remarks in court during the eight years of his trial. Asahara proclaimed that he would take the sins of the world upon himself to save his devoted followers in preparation for the coming third world war he predicted the United States was about to start.

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

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