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Thursday’s executions of six Aum Shinrikyo cultists — the second set of hangings this month following the executions of seven on July 6 — have reignited debate over the nation’s death penalty system, marked by its opacity and the absence of prior notice to the public, while some continue to back the practice as a necessary measure to bring justice.

The latest executions took place only three weeks after Shoko Asahara, former guru of the doomsday cult, was sent to the gallows along with six of his disciples in what many perceived as a conclusion of the decadeslong Aum saga that culminated in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

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