Tokyo — A group of AUM Shinrikyo cult members close to the current leader Fumihiro Joyu visited on Wednesday the Tokyo subway’s Kasumigaseki Station, one of the sites of the deadly subway sarin gas attacks by the cult in 1995, and offered prayers there, they said Saturday.
The members said they tried to console the victims’ souls and intend to go to other sites where AUM members committed heinous crimes, including another sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture in 1994, through next month.
Joyu, 44, did not join the visit to the subway station, they said. The subway gas attacks killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000 injured.
Police sources said the move was apparently aimed at publicly promoting the group’s desire to fully leave the influence of AUM founder Shoko Asahara, a death row inmate who led the crimes.
On Wednesday morning, more than 10 pro-Joyu members of the cult offered a silent prayer at several locations in the station after saying, “We swear we will not let a similar incident happen again,” the members said.
The places the group visited included the platform of the Chiyoda Line where one of the attacked trains pulled in on the morning of March 20, 1995.
The visit was part of an annual seminar the cult, now calling itself Aleph, held during the year-end and New Year’s holidays, they said.
The cult is reportedly in an internal struggle between those favoring Joyu and those still strictly believing in Asahara’s teachings.