Witnesses relive Tokyo subway gas attack

Three witnesses for the prosecution testified at the April 25 session of Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara’s trial, telling the court how they cared for victims of the 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack immediately after the incident occurred.

One witness, Tsutomu Omuro, an employee of Teito Rapid Transit Authority, was working at Kodenma-cho Station on the Hibiya Line on the day of the attack. He said he carried a victim to the station office. “The man (Eiji Wada, 32) appeared to be in his early 30s. He thrashed about, slobbered and cried out,” the station officer testified.

The victim’s screaming echoed clearly throughout the station amid the turmoil, he said, adding that he asked colleagues at the station office to call an ambulance before he went back to the ticket wicket. Later, Omuro found it difficult to breathe, see and speak. He then collapsed and was oblivious to what occurred until he woke up in a hospital the next day, he said. “I was released from the hospital on March 21. After seeing a TV news program that evening, I learned the man had died,” he said.

During the session, Asahara occasionally mumbled in what sounded like English. The 42-year-old Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, sometimes swung his right hand in front of him or placed it on his head. He also mumbled incoherently in his seat, sometimes in what sounded like English. At one point the presiding judge ordered him to be quiet after he abruptly said loudly in English, “My name is Shoko Asahara,” disrupting the hearing.