Asahara can air opinions April 24

Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara will be allowed to express his opinions on all charges against him at the April 24 session of his trial, Judge Fumihiro Abe, who is presiding over the case, said April 10 at the Tokyo District Court.

Asahara, 42, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has not entered a plea or made specific comments on his alleged crimes during approved occasions since his murder trial began last April. He has been indicted in connection with 17 cases, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

When presiding Judge Fumihiro Abe told Asahara to be prepared after consultations with his defense council, Asahara mumbled unintelligibly.