The execution this week of the six remaining Aum Shinrikyo members on death row — along with the hanging of seven cultists including Aum founder and guru Shoko Asahara earlier this month — marks one ending to criminal justice proceedings over the series of deadly crimes committed by the cult’s members. However, that should not prompt us to let the memory of Aum and its horrific crimes, including the 1995 sarin gassing on Tokyo’s subways that killed 13 people and left thousands more injured, fade away.
Twenty-three years after the police crackdown on the cult and the arrest of its members, many of the surviving victims still suffer from the aftershock of its crimes. Financial compensation to thousands of the victims by the cult’s successor group remains stalled. The wife of one of the victims of the subway attack said that despite the execution of the Aum members on death row, the damage from their crimes lingers on.