Japan Carries Out 2nd Mass Execution This Month

Final 6 Aum Shinrikyo members hanged
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2018 3:47 AM CDT
Japan Executes Last 6 Cult Members
This combination of photos shows 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, hanged in July 2018 for crimes committed in the 1990s.   (Kyodo News via AP, File)

Thursday was the final day of reckoning for members of a doomsday cult that killed dozens of people in Japan in the 1990s. Six members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult were hanged, weeks after the mass execution of cult leader Shoko Asahara and another six of his followers, the BBC reports. The inmates, all men, were accused of taking part in crimes including a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1994 that killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000. The group, founded by Asahara in 1984, believed the end of the world was nigh and the only way for people to get to heaven was to be killed by Aum Shinrikyo members.

Those executed Thursday included cult recruiter Kazuaki Okazaki, who killed a lawyer and his family, as well as a member who wanted to leave the group. Justice Minister Yoko Kawakami said the "extremely heinous" killings carried out by the cult were "carefully organized and planned." She said the members had exhausted their appeals, and she "ordered the executions after repeated prudent reviews," reports CNN, which notes that Japan tends to execute death row inmates after giving them just a few hours' notice. (More sarin stories.)

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