The Tokyo District Court decided Wednesday to hand down a ruling on July 25 in a damages lawsuit filed against Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, over a 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. The decision was made after the plaintiffs, eight family members representing four victims of the attack and demanding 545 million yen in damages, gave their final statements before the court, concluding hearings in the civil case.
The case was filed in August 1995, about one year after the attack, but proceedings were suspended for almost four years because the court decided in December 1996 to await the verdict of criminal lawsuits filed against Asahara, 46.
In February of this year, the court decided not to put Asahara on the stand in the civil case because they did not believe the cult leader would testify voluntarily in court. Masako Yasumoto, 64, whose daughter was killed in the attack, told the court that she is frustrated because she will not hear directly from Asahara in court.
“I will never forgive Asahara for killing my beloved daughter,” she said.
Seven people were killed and more than 200 people were injured by the sarin gas attack in the city of Matsumoto in June 1994.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has been indicted on 13 criminal charges, including those related to the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
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