The 20-plus years of criminal trials involving members of the now-defunct doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo came to a close Friday as the Supreme Court upheld the life sentence of Katsuya Takahashi, who was convicted of murder in the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The Aum trials were unprecedented in Japan's judicial history in terms of their sheer number and the length of the deliberations. The focus now shifts to when the 13 members on death row — including Aum founder Shoko Asahara, 62, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto — will be hanged.

A series of terrorist attacks and other crimes committed by Aum resulted in the indictment of about 190 people. Due to the complexity of the background of the cases and the members' relationships, the trials dragged on. Asahara's trial, in particular, took seven years and 10 months, with the courts convening 257 times in total.