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The news that Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara would be executed, was met Friday with relief and sadness from victims of the sarin gas attacks and their families Friday.

They were glad to hear that the Supreme Court had rejected an appeal from Asahara’s lawyers, but said their hardships will still continue.

“I have been longing for his death sentence to be finalized for 11 years and six months since my husband was killed in the sarin gas attack,” Shizue Takahashi, spokeswoman for a victim’s group, told a hastily arranged news conference in Tokyo.

Her husband, Kazumasa, died at age 50. The Tokyo subway worker was contaminated with sarin while wiping it up from the platform at Kasumigaseki Station. The attack killed 12 people and injured more than 5,500.

Takahashi said she attended Asahara’s trial more than 120 times, but is filled with emptiness because she felt Asahara never said anything worthwhile in court.

She no longer wants to hear from Asahara — not even an apology.

“Some people say the court should at least have Asahara tell the truth behind the series of crimes he was involved, but I think we have had enough of his trial,” Takahashi said.

The victims and their families have been frustrated with how long Asahara’s trial took.

Kazuo Asakawa, whose younger sister is severely disabled from her exposure to the nerve gas, spoke of the plight that the victims and their families have had to endure.

“While Asahara received food, clothes and a place to live from the state, my sister has had to live on without any support from the government,” Asakawa said. “Even if the execution is carried out, my sister will not recover.”

Meanwhile, Aum, which has renamed itself Aleph, released a statement saying the group will continue its efforts to compensate the victims.

Takahashi was skeptical about whether the group was sincere.

“They are just saying that on the surface,” she said. “We want the government, municipalities and local people to keep monitoring (the group).”

See related links:
Former member recounts Aum’s control

Timeline of Asahara’s court saga


Asahara’s execution finalized


Daughters also unable to reach Asahara

For more Aum trial-related links >>

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