National / Crime & Legal

Daughter said to have cut ties with executed Aum guru agrees to collect his remains

JIJI, Kyodo

The fourth daughter of Shoko Asahara, the founder and former leader of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, has confirmed she intends to collect the cremated remains of her father, who was executed last Friday.

Asahara, 63, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is believed to have designated his fourth daughter to receive his body after his execution.

“Although I was surprised, I have decided to accept his will as it is the last massage from my father,” the daughter said in a statement released Monday through the blog of her lawyer, Taro Takimoto. She also requested that other relatives and members of the cult’s successor groups accept his will.

Asahara’s fourth daughter, aged 29, is believed to have cut her ties with the successor groups and effectively severed her relationship with her parents.

Asked just before his execution who he would like to pick up his body, Asahara said, “My fourth daughter,” according to sources with knowledge of the matter. He then mentioned her first name, the sources said. The Justice Ministry cremated his body Monday morning.

Five other relatives, including Asahara’s third daughter, have requested that his body be handed over to his wife, 59. “I suspect the story that the fourth daughter was named to pick up the body is a fabrication,” the third daughter said on her blog Monday.

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa declined to comment on how Asahara’s remains should be handled, citing privacy reasons.

According to sources, the Justice Ministry will likely keep the remains at the Tokyo Detention House for the time being.

Asahara was convicted for his roles in a series of deadly crimes committed by the cult, including the March 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system that killed 13 people. His death sentence was finalized in September 2006.

Six of 12 other former senior Aum Shinrikyo members on death row were also executed Friday.