National / Crime & Legal

Asahara allegedly asked for his body to be handed over to fourth daughter; wife petitions minister

Kyodo

Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara, executed Friday for a number of murders, including those of people who died in the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack, told a detention house guard to give his body to his fourth daughter, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

But Asahara’s wife and some of his other children want his body and Saturday they submitted a written request to Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, according to their lawyer.

The Justice Ministry is believed to be considering how to handle the matter.

Law enforcement authorities are keen to know who will take possession of the body of Asahara, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, given concerns it might be used to rally his followers and inspire retaliation against the government and society.

Asahara’s 29-year-old fourth daughter is one of six children — two sons and four daughters— that he had with his wife, a now 59-year-old former senior member of the cult.

The request was signed by the wife and second daughter among others but not the fourth daughter, who declined to comment.

According to the request, the Tokyo detention house told the wife that Asahara did not designate them to take possession of his body.

But the wife’s side asserted it is “inconceivable” that Asahara designated anyone, citing a document dated May 10 and submitted by a doctor at the detention center saying it was impossible to communicate with him.

After receiving his body, the wife and others plan to cremate it without holding a funeral.

On Friday, Asahara along with six former senior members of the cult, were executed for a series of crimes that resulted in the deaths of 29 people and sickened over 6,000 more.

The seven were among 13 people sentenced to death for numerous crimes perpetrated by the doomsday cult.