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The Aum guru I covered in court came across as totally spineless

14 9 11

Years ago, I developed a stomach ulcer from taking on more assignments than my health allowed. I was in my 10th year as a reporter, covering the Aum Shinrikyo trials.

Followers of the doomsday cult were being indicted one after another, and I worked myself ragged reporting from the courthouse and elsewhere, filing stories under constant deadline pressure.

Each time leader Chizuo Matsumoto (aka Shoko Asahara) turned up in the courtroom, I strained my ears, determined not to miss a single word he uttered.

But the man, held in awe by his followers as “sonshi” (holy master) and “guru,” began to behave in an unhinged manner midway into his first........

© The Asahi Shimbun