Former Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Yasuo Hayashi, 40, testified in court Monday that he was unaware a spray device he manufactured would be used for the deadly June 1994 sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

“I knew that the device had functions to disperse sarin gas,” Hayashi claimed during a session of his trial in Tokyo District Court. “But I did not believe the cult had the ability to produce sarin on its own at that time.”

Hayashi also claimed he thought the device would be used to disperse chemicals to neutralize poison gas aimed at the cult. Once referred to as Aum’s killing machine, Hayashi, who was a fugitive until December 1996, has cooperated in court since his first trial session in June.

Besides his alleged involvement in the Matsumoto attack, which claimed seven lives, Hayashi stands accused of being one of the cultists who released sarin in the March 1995 Tokyo subway attack, killing 12 people, and taking part a few months later in the foiled cyanide gas attack at Shinjuku Station.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.