Japanese Society Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Tokyo Sarin Incident

(Kaiwind.com) On March 20 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect spread sarin gas on several subway lines of Tokyo, leading to 12 dead and more than 6 thousand people injured This is the the only time chemical weapons have even been used in an indiscriminate public attack in a major international city.This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system by the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, People of various sections of society use a variety of ways to express the memorial of this event.

TV Asahi will present a special program

TV Asahi will present a two-hour special, “Boso no Genten no Maboroshi no Kakubuso Keikaku” (“The Reckless Origin and Illusion of the Nuclear Weapons Plan”; Feb. 21, 9 p.m.), which incorporates new interviews with principals involved with the incident as well as images never before shown on television. The program endeavors to explain how Aum became a doomsday cult by talking to Fumihiro Joyu, a former executive with the cult who now heads an offshoot organization. The program also uses dramatic recreations to explain some of the more shocking elements of the group’s plan to terrorize Japan.

Tokyo Metro hold counterterrorism exercises

A drill against terrorist attack using sarin gas was released on Tokyo subway line.

Next to completely 20 years of this attack, anti-terrorism training was held in the Tokyo subway, with a team specialized in chemical attacks of theTokyo Fire Department.

In this training, simulated an attack similar to the 1995 bombing andspecialized team took the victims to a provisional tent and, using water jets, removed the product from their bodies.

Predicting an attack with numerous victims, a large ambulance was thrown torescue several people at once.

Tokyo residents March: strongly called for the disbanding the cult”Aleph”

According to the Japan Sankei Shimbun reported on March 8, March 20th is 1995 subway sarin incident is 20th  anniversary . on March 8th, about 200 people living in Japan’s the largest stronghold of Adachi ward of Tokyo Aleph cult (formerly known as Aum Shinrikyo) headquarters nearby took to the streets in demanded to disband the cult.

Marchers carrying “firmly opposed to AUM” banner, and called for “against OM enters” and as they parades around 2 km from residential area. After this rally, “see many followers go in and out of this area, I am so anxious ” people whp was 66 year old that living in the vicinity of the Headquarters said.

Aleph in March bought Iriya, Adachi district land and buildings, “the Aleph” believers moved to the area. Now, in Adachi Ward, there are 3 “Aleph” stronghold in the area . Government implement activity restrictions to “Aleph”, which must submit activity reports.

Nissan Seminar: Film on Aum Shinrikyo

March 13th the Nissan Institute will have a special event on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the Tokyo Sarin Attack in the Tokyo subway in March 1995. The controversial documentary film on Aum Shinrikyo by Mr. Mori Tatsuya will be shown in our Nissan Lecture Theatre from 14:30 on Friday.  After a coffee break, we will then welcome the film producer and journalist Mori Tatsuya himself who made this documentary to speak about the affair, from 17:00.  We expect that the conversation will touch upon various urgent themes and issues of contemporary Japan and religious terrorism in a rapidly shrinking world.

Aum foes review ’95 sarin attack ahead of 20th anniversary

As Japan readies for the 20th anniversary this week of the deadly terrorist attack perpetrated by doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo on Tokyo’s subway system, a number of those who fought the cult in its heyday gathered Saturday to reflect on their missteps in handling the crisis — and renew their vow to prevent a recurrence.

Friday will mark the 20th anniversary of the attack, in which Aum members controlled by guru Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, sprayed deadly sarin nerve gas on several lines of the Tokyo subway system in March 1995. The unprecedented attack killed 13 and injured more than 6,000.

Hosted by victims’ families and anti-Aum lawyers, Saturday’s symposium in Tokyo invited professionals from the judiciary, law enforcement and the media to review their approaches to the attack as panelists at the gathering.

Former Metropolitan Police Department officer Isao Inatomi, who directed a raid on the cult’s cell in Yamanashi Prefecture shortly after the sarin attack, said in those days, the police force was divided by sectionalism. There was no clear consensus on which sections should handle cult-related problems, he said, and none were eager to shoulder the burden.

A rigid top-down mindset had also permeated the organization’s leadership, keeping lower-ranking officers like him constantly in the dark about the details of its strategy against Aum, the former assistant police inspector said.

“If you pried, you were bound to get chewed out by the boss. That’s how our system was,” Inatomi said.

Former Judge Megumi Yamamuro, who sentenced cultist Ikuo Hayashi to life imprisonment in 1998, likewise accused authorities of opacity and rigid officialdom. But he said the judiciary, too, disgraced itself by failing to maintain order in some Aum trials. Accused cultists, including Asahara, were often allowed to turn the trials into a circus by becoming overly emotional or acting insane.

“Many parties are responsible for the terrorist attack — the state, police, mass media. The judiciary didn’t do well in coping with its aftermath, either,” Yamamuro said.

“But what we need to do is not to determine who messed up most, but examine why we mishandled the crisis the way we did” and avoid the same mistakes, he said.

Although not among the panelists, freelance journalist Shoko Egawa, who has for years extensively covered Aum-related issues and who herself was attacked by the cult, spoke out during the symposium and pointed out that the media, too, bears some responsibility.

The mainstream media, she suggested, should have reported more aggressively on the 1989 murder of anti-Aum lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family when it happened. Most media, she said, opted to stay tight-lipped about the case and Aum’s alleged role in it, apparently for fear of lawsuits or retaliation — an attitude she believes emboldened Asahara and encouraged his more heinous machinations in later years.

“I think there are lots of things journalism could have done,” she said.

Shizue Takahashi, who was among the chief organizers of Saturday’s symposium, said she is worried that young people today seem increasingly indifferent to, or worse, unaware of, the attack.

“The past 20 years has not been easy for me,” Takahashi, who was widowed by the sarin attack, told reporters after the symposium.

“I think cult-related terrorist attacks like this will happen again sometime in the future if we stop looking back on it. . . . We need to make sure such a tragedy will never happen again.”

Japan’s Fuji Television: A family that against Aum Shinrikyo

March 20 Friday,From 21:00 to 22:52 ,Fuji TV will play a video named “a family that fight against Aum”, which tells a family fight agaist Aum, and their little-known “decay and rebirth” story. From this way,it tell people to remember the incident of Tokyo subway gas sarin, and wish the same tragedy will never happen again.

Crisis official vows anti-terror push

Japan will take all possible measures to prevent terrorist attacks by applying lessons learned from the 1995 sarin gas attack, the deputy chief Cabinet secretary for crisis management said recently.

Such anti-terrorism efforts are crucial as Japan will host the Group of Seven summit next year and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, said Yasuhiko Nishimura, 59, former superintendent-general of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Nishimura made the comments during a recent interview ahead of Friday’s 20th anniversary of the deadly nerve gas attack on the capital’s subway system by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

At the time of the March 1995 attack, Nishimura led riot police as head of the MPD’s first security section.

The sarin attack was “a turning point” for Japanese security authorities in coping with terrorist threats, he said.

Before the attack, the focus had been on bomb and mortar attacks carried out by extremists and knife attacks by individuals, Nishimura said. But Aum “made nuclear, biological and chemical attacks a real threat,” he said.

Police at the time lacked any knowledge of sarin and thus had a shortage of related equipment, such as chemical protection suits and biological and chemical agent detectors.

Some police officers were hospitalized after breathing vaporized sarin because they removed their gas masks while their protective suits remained contaminated, Nishimura said.

Recalling the police investigations into Aum’s facilities two days after the attack, Nishimura said at the time he was afraid some officers might be killed in more attacks by Aum members.

After the incident, special forces in charge of dealing with nuclear, biological and chemical attacks were formed in nine prefectural police departments across the country, as well as at the MPD.

The nation’s capabilities for dealing with nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism have improved drastically, Nishimura said.

“We will collect and examine information on terrorist groups thoroughly and take preventive measures in advance” before the G-7 summit and the 2020 Olympics, Nishimura said.

If a terrorist attack occurs, it is necessary to identify the cause quickly and share information broadly in order to minimize any damage, Nishimura said.

“We must take advantage of the lessons learned from the sarin incident,” he said.

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