A former senior member of Aum Shinrikyo was ordered August 26 to pay a total of 100 million yen in damages to the parents of four people killed in a nerve gas attack by the cult in 1994.
The Tokyo District Court issued the ruling to Seiichi Endo, 37, one of several cult members alleged to have carried out a sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, on June 27, 1994, that killed seven people. “With their deep sorrow, the plaintiffs have demanded a thorough investigation into the case,” presiding Judge Tomokatsu Tsukahara said. “But the defendant has refused to appear before the court, despite the court’s repeated requests.”
Endo, who is now standing trial for murder and other charges, has submitted a statement to the court seeking dismissal of the damages claims. In his criminal case, Endo pleaded not guilty, denying allegations that he conspired with Aum founder Shoko Asahara to conduct the gas attacks.
The plaintiffs have sued Asahara and are seeking to collect 540 million yen in damages from him. They are also suing eight other cult members allegedly involved in the gas attack for a total of 100 million yen in damages.
Eight other cult members other than Asahara have been ordered to pay a total of 100 million yen in damages to the plaintiffs. But none, including another leading member, Tomomasa Nakagawa, has paid the money, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.