On March 20, 1995, packages of sarin gas are set off in the Tokyo subway system killing twelve people and injuring thousands. Sarin gas is one of the most lethal nerve gases known to man. Tokyo police quickly learned who had planted the chemical weapons and checkpoints were set up across the nation in the massive manhunt.
The gas attack was instituted by the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which had thousands of followers all over Japan who believed in doomsday prophecies. Because it claimed the personal assets of new cult members, the cult had well over a billion dollars stashed away. Shoko Asahara, a forty-year-old blind man, was its leader. He claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ and that he had the ability to travel through time. Japanese authorities raided the cult’s compounds across the country, but could not find Asahara. At one camp at the base of Mt. Fuji, police found tons of the chemicals used to produce sarin gas. They also found plans to buy nuclear weapons from the Russians. The police eventually located Hideo Murai, one of the cult's other top leaders, but when he was being taken into custody he was stabbed to death by an assassin. Shortly after, the police found a hidden basement at the Mt. Fuji compound where other cult leaders were holed up, including Masami Tsuchiya, a chemist who admitted making the gas. Still, Asahara remained at large and there were continued attacks on the subway system, injuring hundreds. Finally on May 16, Asahara was found in yet another secret room of the Mt. Fuji compound and arrested. Along with scores of the other leaders, Asahara was charged with murder and in 2004 was convicted and sentenced to death.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous books that include the award winning, Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949 (2012, Schiffer Publishing). The WINNER of the 2012 International Book Awards and a FINALIST in the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards for True Crime. The book can be purchased at Amazon through the following link:
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