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Former Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Yasuo Hayashi told the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday that he was driven to spread deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 out of fear of what would happen if he refused.

Summoned by prosecutors to testify at the 24th hearing for senior cult member Tomomitsu Niimi, the 39-year-old Hayashi confessed that he felt reluctant when he first heard the order to spread sarin through Tokyo’s subway system but accepted it out of fear of the consequences if he refused. According to Hayashi, Hideo Murai, the cult’s late science chief who brought the order to Hayashi and other members, did say they could reject it if they wanted to.

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