Shoko Asahara, founder of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and mastermind of the deadly 1995 sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system — and a number of other horrific crimes in the 1980s and ’90s — was executed July 6, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said.
Six other condemned Aum members — Tomomasa Nakagawa, 55, Kiyohide Hayakawa, 68, Yoshihiro Inoue, 48, Masami Tsuchiya, 53, Seiichi Endo, 58, and Tomomitsu Niimi, 54 — were also executed, Kamikawa said.
Asahara, 63, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, was found guilty for his role in 13 crimes that led to the deaths of 27 people, a figure later increased to 29. The Tokyo subway attack alone killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000. Asahara was also convicted of killing lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989.
Though the hangings in some ways close the curtain on Aum’s shocking crimes, critical questions remain unanswered. Asahara never explained why he committed the crimes.(The Japan Times, Kyodo)