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Aum executions dash hopes of resolving key cult questions

16 3 5

Chizuo Matsumoto, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, and six of his former lieutenants were executed July 6 for a range of crimes that culminated in the deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995.

All trials for Aum-related crimes concluded in January. Thirteen cultists were under sentence of death.

At a news conference on July 6, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa would not explain why seven of them were executed.

Nor did she offer any information about the mental state of Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara.

“I refrain from answering questions concerning the decisions on individual cases of execution,” Kamikawa repeatedly said.

It is regrettable that Kamikawa stuck to the traditional principle of secrecy over executions in relation to Aum's crimes that attracted global attention.

Although a growing number of countries have abolished........

© The Asahi Shimbun