Freed cult leader expresses remorse for his crimes


MSNBC News, Dec. 30, 1999

TOKYO, Dec. 30, 1999 - Fumihiro Joyu, a senior member of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways, has expressed remorse for the crimes he has committed, the cult said in a statement Thursday.

Joyu was released Wednesday from prison after serving a three-year sentence for perjury and forgery. He was one of Aum Shinri Kyo's only senior leaders who was not charged in connection with the nerve gas attack, which left 12 people dead.

The statement, issued through the cult's current leader, Tatsuko Muraoka, did not mention the subway attack, or whether Joyu had expressed remorse over the deaths it caused.

Instead, it said only that Joyu has expressed ''deep regret for the crimes he personally committed,'' and has relinquished an honorary religious title given him by the cult's founder, Shoko Asahara.

Asahara is currently on trial for allegedly masterminding the subway attack.

Upon leaving prison, Joyu confirmed his intention to rejoin the cult and officials fear he could fill the power vacuum left by the arrest and imprisonment of most of its previous leaders.

Despite intense crackdowns since the subway gassing, Aum is estimated to have more than 2,000 members.


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