The Tokyo District Court will rule on 13 counts of crimes committed by AUM Shinrikyo guru Shoko Asahara on Feb. 27 next year, officials said Friday.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has remained silent throughout the trial since January 1998 when he declared simply, "I am totally innocent."
When prosecutors asked the court to sentence him to death in April this year, they said he had committed crimes that were, "cruel and unprecedented in Japan's criminal history."
Crimes allegedly masterminded by Asahara included the sarin gas terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system, a similar gas poisoning in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and the murder of the entire family of a lawyer who tried to help those falling victim to AUM's atrocious crimes.
Lawyers representing Asahara reportedly plan to plead his innocence during the final hearings slated for Oct. 30 and 31 by saying that his followers committed the crimes of their own volition, sources said.