The Asahara Trial: Aum member explains VX attack


Japan Times, November 2, 1999

A former Aum Shinrikyo follower testifying in cult founder Shoko Asahara's trial Thursday explained how he sprayed deadly VX gas on victims without their realization.

Taking the witness stand for Asahara's 135th hearing at the Tokyo District Court, Akira Yamagata said that in 1994 and 1995 while jogging he would use a syringe to spray VX onto the neck of his targets right before passing them.

Cult member Tomomitsu Niimi jogged with him to create a diversion if anything went wrong, he said.

VX, a deadly chemical, has to be applied to the skin, Yamagata said, adding that he and five other followers assigned to carry out the attacks by Asahara planned in detail how they could successfully apply the gas.

The attacks were carried out on separate occasions on Noboru Mizuno, Hiroyuki Nagaoka and former follower Tadahito Hamaguchi. Both Mizuno and Nagaoka were targeted because they were protecting former cult members. Hamaguchi, who died from the attack, was targeted because the cult suspected he was a police informant.

Yamagata, a member of the Self-Defense Forces before joining the cult, is serving a prison term for the attacks.


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