Cultist 'glad' to help Asahara by releasing sarin


Japan Times, June 9, 2000

A former Aum Shinrikyo member who was 17 when she was involved in the 1994 sarin gas attack on an anti-Aum lawyer testified in court Thursday that at the time she was "glad" she could help cult leader Shoko Asahara.

Testifying in the 159th session of Asahara's trial at the Tokyo District Court, the former cultist, whose name was withheld as she was a minor at the time of the offense, told how she poured the liquid form of sarin into Yokohama lawyer Taro Takimoto's car in Yamanashi Prefecture in May 1994 on Asahara's orders.

She said that she was honored to receive Asahara's order as she thought that it meant Asahara trusted her and would take care of her. "I think everybody in the cult would have felt the same way (if they had received an order from Asahara)," she told the court.

The woman joined the cult when she was 15. Before receiving the order she had been concerned that Asahara had a cold attitude toward her.

Consequently, she told the court, she spontaneously accepted the order with a feeling akin to a "child who had been forgiven by parents."

The woman also related how she poured the liquid form of sarin into the ventilation grille in the lawyer's car, which was parked outside the Kofu District Court. Takimoto had been attending a civil suit lodged against the cult.

The woman, who left the cult in 1996, said she poured the sarin from a small bottle into Takimoto's car, following a procedure outlined by Aum doctor Tomomasa Nakagawa and the cult's chemist, Seiichi Endo.

Takimoto has testified during Asahara's trial that he suffered from impaired vision -- a symptom caused by inhaling sarin -- while he was driving his car from the court.

The former cultist said she also suffered similar symptoms three days after the attack. She also said she was thanked by Asahara after returning to the cult's headquarters later that day.


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