A former senior member of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that perpetrated the deadly Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995 said just moments before his execution last week that he did not foresee such an ending, but remained calm and thanked his parents, an informed source said Friday.
“I didn’t expect things to turn out this way,” Yoshihiro Inoue was quoted as saying shortly before being executed on July 6 along with cult founder Shoko Asahara and five other senior members.
Inoue, 48, was one of Asahara’s closest aides and acted as a general coordinator of the group, which used the nerve agent to attack the subway system in March 1995, killing 13 people and injuring over 6,000. He was sentenced to death in 2004 by the Tokyo High Court and filed an appear for a retrial in March.
Asked by an Osaka detention center officer if he had any messages for his parents, Inoue said, “Thank you, dad and mom. Please don’t worry,” according to the source.
His very last words can be roughly translated as, “It’s a good start.”
As Inoue joined the cult when he was still in his second year in high school, his parents did not have any photographs of him as an adult. They used a portrait drawn by one of Inoue’s female supporters for his funeral in Kyoto, where he was born.
Inoue was transferred to Osaka from the Tokyo detention center on March 14, along with several others, a move that was seen as a sign that the government was preparing to hang the Aum death row inmates. He filed for a retrial the same day.
Japan usually avoids executing people who file for retrials, but this did not apply in Inoue’s case.
Inoue had claimed the life sentence given to him by a lower court was appropriate as he was not involved in the death of 68-year-old notary clerk Kiyoshi Kariya, who died after being abducted and injected with an anesthetic by the group in February 1995.
A letter written three days before his execution and addressed to a supporter included detailed requests about collecting evidence for his potential retrial and asked for the supporter’s continued help so he “can atone for his crime” while he is alive.
Inoue’s parents plan to file another retrial request on their son’s behalf.