Courts resume Asahara trials

Japan Times, September 2, 1999

After a monthlong summer recess, the trial of Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara resumed Thursday at the Tokyo District Court.

Three former cultists were called to the witness stand by Asahara's defense team. They were cross-examined on three different crimes allegedly committed by the cult, including the 1989 murder of the family of anti-Aum lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto.

Asahara is being indicted for 17 crimes, and six cases, including the Matsumoto and Tokyo subway gas attacks, have been covered so far.

Prosecutors are reportedly scheduled to begin hearings on the 1994 murder of Tadahito Hamaguchi, an office worker in Osaka, and other attempted murder cases involving the use of VX nerve gas sometime in late October.

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