• Kyodo News


The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down an appeal by Masami Tsuchiya, a senior Aum Shinrikyo figure sentenced to death over the cult’s crimes, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Tsuchiya, 46, will be the 11th Aum member whose death sentence has been finalized once certain procedures are completed. Two other death-row appeals, involving Seiichi Endo, 50, and Tomomasa Nakagawa, 48, are still pending before the top court.

Presiding Justice Kohei Nasu said Aum’s crimes were heinous and Tsuchiya, charged with 13 slayings in six cases, played a key role in developing and producing the sarin gas.

Tsuchiya, in conspiracy with Aum founder Shoko Asahara and senior cult members, released sarin on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995, killing 12 people, and he was involved in the murder of a 28-year-old man in Osaka in December 1994, according to the top court.

Tsuchiya was also convicted over his role in Aum’s sarin attack in a residential area in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in June 1994, that left seven people dead and hundreds injured.

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