Evidences of Aum Shinrikyo Case



By Master Yan Maitri-Shi, Prosecutor



After Legitimating and Validating Evidences and Charges by Master Maitreya, President and Spiritual Judge of IBEC-BTHR, it is addressed the case against the accused party, AUM SHINRIKYO & ALEPH CULT. This investigation was initiated from the “Case Ken Wilber” and the “Case Supreme Court of the Russian Federation”.

The Charges by which the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights is accusing AUM SHINRIKYO & ALEPH CULT are enumerated below:

  • Organized Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Crimes against Humanity and Peace
  • Spiritual Fraud and False Buddhism


Therefore, it is detailed a series of EVIDENCES that support the Charges referred so that the Jury members decide about the possible “Responsibility”, “Innocence” or “Insanity” of the accused. Such evidence come from graphic and audiovisual media that have been gathered, sorted and confirmed in their order and context as Means of Proof in order to know, establish, dictate and determine the Responsibility of the Accused for committing the aforementioned Charges.

The procedure established in the Statute of INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ETHICS  COMMITTEE & BUDDHIST TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS provides both bodies the ostentation to enjoy independence and liberty from state and national regulation and control, besides having the legality and acting as a Buddhist People in order to assert its customs, traditions, practices, procedures, judgments and rights as well as acting in pursuit of the development of Spirituality, of Buddhist Ethics, and of the defense of International Human Rights. This procedure has the particularity, singularity and distinction of having “Special Jurisdiction of the Tribal Law” and “Universal Jurisdiction of the International Law”, thus having the Character, Juridical validity, Legal Powers, infrastructure, Training and Capability necessary to be Actor, Administrator and Executor of Justice in this realm and exercise, by judging of the Accused by means of an Ethical Judgment whose Purpose is Truth, Reconciliation and Learning.-



International Buddhist Ethics Committee: In 1995 the powerful Japanese sect “Aum Shinrikyo” carried out terrorist acts killing dozens of people and seriously injuring thousands of lives. This sect, now called “Aleph”, has been spread through several countries in Europe, where it begins to be persecuted as a terrorist organization, as happens in Russia. Indeed, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has been able to analyze during the “Supreme Court of Russia Federation” Case that “Aleph” sect is being banned in that country. Because the actions carried out by this dangerous sect would be Crimes against Humanity, the International Buddhist Ethics Committee is in favor of this prohibition. On the other hand, this Case not only plans to demonstrate that the Aum Shinrikyo or Aleph sect has violated the International Human Rights Law, but also seeks to demonstrate that this sect constitutes False Buddhism, which is very important because many scholars have unreasonably accused Buddhism of being behind these terrorist acts, erroneously stating that this sect has Buddhist bases. Among these malicious or ignorant academics is Ken Wilber, who has already been sentenced by the International Buddhist Ethics Committee.



EVIDENCE 1: Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EVIDENCE 2: Assassinations, Kidnappings and Extortions

EVIDENCE 3: Torture, Mind Control & False Spirituality

EVIDENCE 4: Attacks against Buddhism


EVIDENCE 1: Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Monterey Institute of International Studies: “[On] march 20, 1995, five members of the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) boarded subway trains in Tokyo, Japan, and released the deadly chemical nerve agent sarin. The attack killed 12 people and injured over 1,000, of whom 17 were critically injured (requiring intensive care), 37 were severely injured (with muscular twitching and gastrointestinal problems), and 984 were slightly injured (with pinpoint pupils but no other symptoms).  Aum’s interest in chemical and biological weapons (CBW) terrorism can be traced back to 1990. Between 1990 and 1995, Aum launched 17 known CBW attacks, with motivations ranging from assassination to mass murder. ”[1]

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, JAKE ADELSTEIN: “The Japanese Doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) has been pretty quiet since its members, following the orders of its founder, Shoko Asahara, killed 13 people and sent more than 5,000 to the hospital in a gruesome sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995. But apparently that relative silence doesn’t mean they’ve stopped their madness. Last week, 58 people believed to be affiliated with the creepy cult were caught at a seedy hotel in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, where they were holding a conference, according to Montenegro press reports.  (…) Aum Shinrikyo was the first—and to date the only—terrorist group to launch a sophisticated chemical warfare attack. It had invested a fortune developing the technology to manufacture a weapon first produced by the Nazis in the 1930s that, even now, al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State can only dream about: a colorless, odorless nerve agent that causes victims to suffocate within ten minutes and may do permanent neurological damage to those who survive. It is classified as a weapon of mass destruction, along with atomic bombs and biological agents. But a more suitable description would be weapon for mass murder. In 2013, the world got a glimpse of sarin in action when the Syrian regime used some of its stockpile on civilians. On March 20, 1995, Asahara’s followers dropped five plastic bags filled with sarin in liquid form on Tokyo subway trains at the height of rush hour, simultaneously puncturing them with sharpened metal-tipped umbrellas. Although the death toll was lower than expected, hundreds of people still suffer from the effects of the poison and the trauma of that day. Many more people likely would have been killed had the agent been dispersed in aerosol form. The cult had plans to disperse the gas over Tokyo with a helicopter purchased from Russia, but it was stopped before it could put the larger plan into effect, according to police officers who worked the case Followers of the cult, then and now, worship Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto. He is currently on death row awaiting the outcome of appeals on multiple convictions related to the 1995 attacks, but the faithful see him as a Christ-like figure. The fact that those in Montenegro were worshiping a man who orchestrated what he hoped would be an apocalyptic incident might indicate that they agree with his philosophy—the fact that they were holding their meeting on the anniversary of the Tokyo attack would appear even more incriminating. (…) After the 1995 Tokyo gas attacks, nearly 200 people were charged with various offenses related to the atrocity. Some members of the cult are still on trial for various felony charges including attempted murder and sending mail bombs.”[2]

MASAMI ITO: “On the morning of March 20, 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) doomsday cult carried out the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the postwar era, releasing a toxic nerve gas that killed 13 and injured thousands during the rush-hour in Tokyo. Twenty years later, a number of victims continue to suffer physical or mental after-effects of the sarin attack, experiencing complications such as impaired speech, blurred vision and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the more unlucky ones are still confined to their beds. To date, investigators have charged 192 Aum members over their alleged role in the attack, with 13 members, including leader Shoko Asahara, receiving the death sentence. Katsuya Takahashi, who was arrested in June 2012 after being on the run for 17 years, is the last cultist still on trial. Takahashi is thought to have been the driver for one of the senior cultists who sprayed the gas, and faces charges that include murder, kidnapping and solitary confinement resulting in death, and violation of the Explosives Control Law. He pleaded not guilty to almost all charges against him at the beginning of his trial at the Tokyo District Court in January. A verdict is expected at the end of April. Following Aum’s dismantlement, former members quickly reorganized into a group called Aleph in 2000. Others joined a splinter group headed by former Aum spokesman Fumihiro Joyu called Hikari no Wa (Circle of Rainbow Light). The spin-off groups will remain under the Public Security Intelligence Agency’s surveillance until the end of January 2018.”[3]

Judge Yamazak: “It was mass murder resulting from blind faith in a self-righteous dogma, which leaves no room for excuse (…)It was an act of indiscriminate terrorism unprecedented in criminal history because it was carried out in crowded trains.” [4]

Japan Times: “The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced a former Aum Shinrikyo fugitive to life in prison for his role in the doomsday cult’s 1995 sarin attacks on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 people and sickened thousands. Katsuya Takahashi, 58, was found guilty by the Tokyo District Court in April 2015 of murder and other crimes for his role as a driver for one of the cult members who released the deadly poison on a subway car on March 20, 1995. Takahashi was also accused of involvement in three other attacks orchestrated by Aum during its heyday in the early 1990s. During the appeal process, Takahashi’s lawyers claimed that he wasn’t sure what chemical the cultist would release, and that he didn’t expect the incident to lead to casualties. The lower court said in the original ruling that Takahashi had been warned by a former senior cult member and so was “aware that a volatile poison was to be released and deaths were highly likely.” It said Takahashi played an “indispensable” role in ensuring a successful attack, though it acknowledged that he was simply following instructions from his superior. Yoshihiro Inoue, a 46-year-old former senior cult member who was sentenced to death over his role in the gas attacks, testified during Takahashi’s trial in the lower court that he had told him that sarin would be released. Takahashi denied that Inoue had ever told him this. Takahashi was apprehended in Tokyo in June 2012 after nearly 17 years on the run. He was the last Aum Shinrikyo member on a special nationwide wanted list. Cult founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has been sentenced to death for masterminding the subway attacks. According to the district court ruling, Inoue took part in the attacks to realize his own religious goal of achieving enlightenment according to the teachings and urging of his guru Shoko Asahara and to secure his position in the cult.”[5]

Council on Foreign Relations: “As early as five years before the March 1995 subway attack, the group attempted to carry out at least nine biological assaults—all failed—according to a 1998 New York Times investigation. Originally, Aum planned to massacre citizens by spraying botulin, the most lethal natural poison to humans, from buildings and modified delivery vans. Aum’s team of young scientists cultured and experimented with biological toxins, including botulin, anthrax, cholera, and Q fever. The transition to chemical weapons came after biological attacks failed. Investigations and raids after the subway attack showed that Aum was capable of producing thousands of kilograms of sarin a year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The cult had also acquired a Russian military helicopter that could have been used to distribute the gas, the police said. Initial plots failed to produce the deadly chaos that Aum wanted, although one incident in June 1993 in which Anthrax spores were released from a Tokyo building caused a foul odor in addition to the deaths of some birds, plants, and pets. According to the CDC, Aum sent a fact-finding team to Zaire to study and collect Ebola virus samples in 1993. Aum reportedly sprayed some of the failed batches of biological weapons in the areas surrounding U.S.military bases in the early attempts involving botulin, according to the New York Times. After the subway attack, the State Department says that Japanese authorities reinvestigated and found Aum responsible for a mysterious attack—that later proved to be sarin—on a residential neighborhood in 1994 that killed seven and injured over one hundred people. Russian officials arrested several Aum followers in 2001 for planning to bomb the Imperial Palace in Japan as part of an elaborate attempt to free Asahara.”[6]

Morris M: “When Australian Federal Police raided the Banjawarn ranch in 1995, it was like they’d stepped into a nightmare. Remote parts of the property were littered with the carcasses of sheep that had died in agony. Tests revealed that they’d been poisoned with sarin. In the abandoned house, policemen stumbled across a vast chemical weapons lab, primed to produce nerve gas. Horrifically, it began to dawn on them that they’d uncovered a testing ground for weapons of mass destruction. (…) Following the 1995 raid, police discovered an active uranium mine on the ranch, leading some to conclude the explosion had been Aum testing its own crude nuclear weapon. (…) The group was later found to have been creating anthrax and nerve agents like Soman at the ranch, some of which had been tested on the local wildlife. (…) As early as 1990, Aum’s leadership was planning mass-casualty terror attacks. In April of that year, they modified a van to emit a fine spray as it drove and then loaded up with samples of botulinum toxin. The group then drove it through central Tokyo, spraying the Japanese parliament with one of the deadliest bacteria known to man. Thanks to the cult’s poor understanding of germ warfare, the attack released a harmless version of the bacteria. But it inspired them to greater, scarier heights. Two years later, the group managed to acquire some anthrax. A stupendously deadly strain of bacteria, anthrax can kill you in unimaginably gruesome ways. If you happen to get infected by inhaling it, you’ll almost certainly die even with treatment. Aum took their anthrax samples, loaded them into giant aerosols, and tried to spray the whole lot over Tokyo. A successful anthrax attack could have killed thousands. Thankfully, Aum had accidentally acquired a vaccination strain that was harmless to humans. Less happily, the repeated failure of their germ attacks is what inspired them to move on to sarin. By 1994, they’d successfully tested their new gas in the town of Matsumoto, killing eight people and wounding nearly 500. (…) In the aftermath of the Tokyo subway attack, Japanese police raided Aum compounds across the country, hunting for more sarin. What they found was chilling. Aum had established vast chemical factories capable of producing literally tons of sarin. A highly effective nerve agent, sarin can cause seizures after exposure to a single drop. Aum was stockpiling enough to power a country-wide war. Sarin wasn’t the only weapon that Aum’s chemical warfare department was developing. Up to 80 members were found to be developing mustard gas, sodium cyanide, phosgene gas, tabun, and VX to use against civilian populations. At the same time, a dedicated biological warfare lab was churning out a nonstop assembly line of horrors. Anthrax, Ebola, and the deadly Q-Fever were all being developed as weapons, all potentially capable of wiping out thousands of people. By this time, the full extent of Aum’s arsenal was becoming clear. The group had also taken to manufacturing AK-47s, building enough to equip their own paramilitary outfit. They’d acquired a drone from somewhere and modified it to spray nerve agents on those below. All in all, Aum were found to be better equipped for war than many armies. That they didn’t deploy their capabilities more intelligently is a matter of pure fortune. (…) the March 20 gas attack on the Tokyo subway is today known as simply a warm-up. Less than two months later, on May 5, 1995, two men from Aum left a mysterious bag in the restroom at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. Inside was a timed weapon, set to release a deadly cloud of cyanide gas directly under a main ventilation shaft. Had it gone as planned, it’s estimated that this second gas attack could have killed as many as 10,000 people. That it failed is down to nothing more than dumb luck. A cleaning woman found the bag and moved it out of sight behind a door. By sheer fluke, the way she carried it resulted in the bomb’s trigger mechanism getting knocked out of place. When the timer reached zero, instead of exploding, the bag burst into flames. Although this could still have caused the cyanide to be released, it caught the attention of passersby, who managed to put out the fire before catastrophe occurred. Although two Aum members were later convicted of planting the cyanide bomb, the cult wasn’t done yet. Even with its leaders in prison, letter bombs were sent out to the governor of Tokyo, wounding one official. More cyanide bombs were planted on the subway, although these attacks were foiled once again. Luckily, it couldn’t last. By fall 1995, Aum was spent as an organization. Police raids shut down its chemical and biological weapons laboratories and confiscated its small arms.”[7]

Journal of Strategy Security: “Aum Shinrikyo, an apocalyptic-millenarian cult headquartered in Japan, made headlines in March 1995 by conducting one of the most notorious terrorist attacks using an unconventional agent, during which five Aum members released sarin nerve agent in five subway lines in Tokyo, killing twelve, injuring several hundred, and forcing around six thousand people to seek medical attention. Prior to the attack, the group attempted at least ten chemical agent and ten biological agent attacks between 1990 and 1995. While Aum Shinrikyo actually engaged in the development of biological and chemical weapons, the group actively sought a nuclear weapons program. Indeed, in the early 1990s, Aum Shinrikyo moved to acquire nuclear materials and construct nuclear weapons. When the construction of nuclear weapons proved unattainable, Aum members abandoned their nuclear aspirations and focused on their chemical and biological programs. This article focuses on the evolution of Aum Shinrikyo, from its inception as a failed political entity to its eventual place in history as one of the most notorious terrorist groups, with specific attention paid to its complex engineering efforts, especially the chemical and nuclear weapons programs. (…) Secondary factors included the group’s expanding size and influence, protected status as a religious organization (preventing intervention by Japanese authorities), and a desire to eliminate perceived enemies. Aum Shinrikyo is considered by some to be the first violent non-state actor (VNSA) with the means, capabilities, intentions and finances to develop and deploy a sophisticated weapon of mass destruction.[8] (…)Following its poor showing in Japan’s 1990 parliamentary elections, Aum Shinrikyo’s agenda shifted from doomsday survival to doomsday initiation, with the goal of bringing about the apocalypse. Asahara accused the Japanese government of deliberately altering election results, and sought to overthrow the Japanese government (and other perceived enemies, including the United States) using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Asahara demonstrated a fetish-like affinity for unconventional weapons with high destructive potential. The extent of his obsession was manifest in the fact that he wrote odes about the chemical agent sarin. (…) Asahara’s obsession with nuclear weapons formed the foundation for all of his actions related to these weapons. Not only did he try to develop his own nuclear weapons, he sought to provoke a U.S. nuclear attack on Japan in order to precipitate Armageddon, and he went about doing so by targeting a U.S. military base, rival organizations, and the general public (…) While the ultimate decision to pursue a particular weapon fell to Asahara, he exchanged ideas on weapons and strategies with the heads of Aum’s biological, chemical, and nuclear programs, often in the context of informal conversation. (…)The decision to engage in the in-house production of weapons of mass destruction came only after the group faced numerous setbacks in its attempts to acquire such weapons abroad. These setbacks, and the ultimate shift to intra-group development, will be addressed in detail within the context of a broader discussion concerning the group’s weapons programs. (…) Indeed, the group was able to attempt at least 20 attacks with biological and chemical agents prior to 1995. A trial and error approach was thus far more feasible for Aum than groups with more limited resources. Its high risk tolerance was also the result of its obsession with futuristic technologies such as WMDs, which it was prepared to pursue despite the daunting technical obstacles their development presented. Furthermore, the group risked discovery of its illicit operations by state authorities by making large-scale purchases and circumventing basic national regulations and protocols. For example, Hayakawa Kiyohide, Aum’s construction minister, and Yoshihiro Inoue, its intelligence minister, oversaw and coordinated the ill-conceived purchase of a 500-acre sheep farm in Western Australia to mine uranium and test chemical Weapons. (…) Aum Shinrikyo’s WMD pursuits would reemerge in 1992 when its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities began in earnest through the group’s international networks and activities in Russia and the United States, through which the group intended to procure information and materials. During visits to Russia, Aum leaders consulted Russian scientists in order to obtain laser and nuclear technologies. The group was also believed by some to have shown interest in purchasing fissile materials from Russia. Through its network, Aum Shinrikyo successfully recruited over 300 scientists and engineers—including employees at the Kurchatov Institute, the premier nuclear facility in Russia—who were either attracted to the apocalyptic ideology or lured with financial incentives. Aum Shinrikyo’s Russian contacts enabled group members to access black market materials and hardware. (…)Not willing to abandon its nuclear aspirations, the group attempted to lay the foundation for its own nuclear program in Australia, yet failed again. In May of 1993, a large explosion occurred near the farm in Australia that remains unexplained, but may be attributed to Aum’s nuclear program. If, indeed, the explosion was related to its nuclear program, a possible explanation for the subsequent abandonment of the farm is that Aum may have realized that nuclear technologies fell outside of their capabilities, or at least were unattainable because Asahara’s 1995 timeframe for nuclear Armageddon proved too short for group members to successfully construct a nuclear weapon. Even if unrelated to its nuclear research, Aum Shinrikyo may have reasonably left the farm in order to avoid interdiction by law enforcement authorities. As a result, the group more effectively utilized its resources by focusing on chemical attacks, which had shown the most promise to date.  The farm in Australia may have also served as a testing ground for Aum’s chemical weapons program. When Australian authorities examined the farm once Aum had abandoned it, they discovered the remains of 29 sheep and Japanese-language documentation that led the authorities to believe the reason for the deaths of the livestock was for unidentified experimentation. While the tests to identify sarin were not necessarily conclusive, as a byproduct of sarin breaking down in the environment is also related to the natural decomposition of the sheep,72 the timeline does suggest that Aum Shinrikyo had used the sheep to confirm the lethality of their chemical weapon. (…) [The] organization’s fascination with technology inspired members to pursue multiple, novel weapons programs, largely as a means of appeasing Asahara and achieving higher status within the cult. While the group’s chemical and biological weapons programs were the most well-known, it had shown interest in a myriad of technologies, including nuclear, seismological, plasma, and laser weapons as well. Despite a substantial war chest, all of these initiatives ended in failure save for the chemical weapons program, and even its successes were few. (…) Aum Shinrikyo took up complex engineering tasks concerning nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons due to its apocalyptic ideology and the Aum leadership’s obsession with high-tech and unconventional weapons. Asahara, in particular, expressed a techno-fetishist affinity towards WMDs, which led the group to pursue more advanced technological weapons. Ranking Aum members generally shared this obsession, resulting in a leadership with numerous ideas for achieving apocalyptic ends, but without efficacious plans or practical knowledge for bringing those ideas to fruition. As a cult that grew quickly and incorporated over 300 scientists and engineers, Aum Shinrikyo developed a false sense of confidence in the coming of doomsday and in the group’s ability to embark on a WMD development program.”[9]

Neal A. Clinehens, Major, USAF: “At Asahara’s direction, the cult would use WMD against Japanese society thereby provoking a catastrophic social breakdown. Asahara was convinced that, amid the resulting death and confusion, Japan would blame the United States. Asahara would then step into the confusion and lead his followers to victory. With this master plan in mind, Asahara decided to invest very large amounts of Aum Shinrikyo’s eventual $1 billion-plus financial empire into WMD research and development. The scope of Aum Shinrikyo’s WMD research is wide and impressive. Not content with standard biological, chemical or nuclear work, the cult researched and invested in other, more exotic weapons offering the potential to inflict mass casualties. Aum Shinrikyo was determined to acquire any type of functional, even if non-traditional, WMD. For example, the cult purchased a green laser worth $400,000 intending to develop a weapon capable of blinding masses of people. (…)Aum Shinrikyo never neglected its main biological, chemical and nuclear efforts. The cult acquired a relatively remote section of land near the base of Mt Fuji and constructed a complex that housed the majority of its WMD work and accompanying infrastructure. Within this compound, the cult constructed biological, chemical and nuclear research facilities complete with state-of-the-art equipment and fully staffed with technicians. Within this compound, Aum Shinrikyo established a biological toxin laboratory designed to produce, among other things, clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. Sixteen million times more poisonous than strychnine and with 10,000 times the lethality of cobra venom, botulism had the potential to kill masses of people. Additionally, cult scientists produced anthrax spores. Both the botulism and anthrax would later be used in attacks against Tokyo. The cult studied every lethal agent they could find, even sending some members on a “humanitarian mission” to Africa with the true aim of collecting a strain of the Ebola virus for cultivation in cult laboratories. The mission failed. Overall, the biological weapons program was a partial success. (…)However, the cult was more successful in its effort to create and deliver another weapon of mass destruction: chemical agents. (…)The list of chemicals produced by the program is impressive. The cult managed to manufacture quantities of Sarin and the nerve agents VX, tabun and soman (…).As the cult poured money into biological and chemical efforts, Asahara also wanted to develop nuclear weapons. At first, Asahara ordered the development of a full-scale nuclear weapons program. When that project proved too technically challenging, the cult attempted to acquire a fully functional nuclear weapon either from sources in the former Soviet Union or from any other willing seller. Finally, when they could neither buy nor build a nuclear weapon, the cult decided to spread unprocessed uranium — mined from the its Australian sheep ranch — in downtown Tokyo. This attack was never attempted. The cult’s efforts to attain a nuclear weapon never came to the attention of any intelligence agency in any country. Neither did the acquisition and production of biological and chemical agents. Every domestic legal authority in Japan that should have detected the cult failed to do so. The cult operated with impunity while trying to acquire the means to kill millions. (…)Aum Shinrikyo had decided to destroy Japanese society in order to accelerate the coming apocalypse. Shoko Asahara became convinced that by eliminating the Japanese Diet, the equivalent of the U.S. Congress, the destruction of society would follow. Using botulinus toxin, the plan was for cult members to drive in circles around the Diet building in a modified truck and spray the toxin into the air. Biohazard suits protected the cult members in the truck. Fortunately, the attack failed. (…)In spite of this failure, Aum Shinrikyo continued to plan. The cult decided to attack world dignitaries attending the royal wedding of Prince Naruhito. During the wedding, cult scientists planned to again introduce botulinus toxin into downtown Tokyo. Modifications made to the spraying mechanism after the failed Japanese Diet attack convinced cult scientists that delivery difficulties had been solved. Asahara gave the orders to proceed. The cult rigged the improved spraying device onto a truck loaded with botulinus toxin. The plan was to drive through downtown Tokyo as near to the royal wedding as possible, spray toxin into the air and thereby kill as many people as possible. The plan was considered to be so foolproof that Asahara himself rode in the truck to witness it. The delivery system failed again. (…)The cult scientists decided to employ anthrax. They believed it to be a more reliable biological weapon because it was more stable outside the laboratory. In addition to changing agents, cult scientists also altered their delivery methods. Instead of a mobile delivery platform, such as a truck, they decided to spread anthrax spores from a stationary point. Anthrax spores would be poured into a modified steam generator located in a cult-owned building in downtown Tokyo. The anthrax-saturated steam was blown across Tokyo for four consecutive days. Aum Shinrikyo’s attack failed again. (…)After three consecutive failures with biological weapons, Asahara examined the available alternatives. Concurrent with this weapon reevaluation, the cult was also involved in legal troubles. Embroiled in a lawsuit he was sure the cult would lose, Asahara decided to try a new type of WMD against the three judges ruling in the case. He instructed his scientists to employ a chemical rather than biological agent. The chemical he decided to use was Sarin. Cult scientists reverted to a truck fitted with a spraying mechanism. The truck would be parked in a lot very close to a dormitory where the three judges lived. The cult team would release Sarin and the gas was supposed to leak into the dormitory and kill the judges as they slept. As with every other cult WMD attack to this point, it did not go according to plan. Due to a change in the wind, the Sarin was blown in the wrong direction. Instead of killing the judges, the gas killed seven other people and injured over 200 in nearby buildings. Even though this attack failed to kill the judges, it managed to make them so ill that they delayed the judgement against the cult for a number of weeks. More importantly, the cult had learned how to deploy and deliver, with a reliable degree of effectiveness, a weapon of mass destruction. They had gained confidence with Sarin and Asahara decided to use for the cult’s most famous and effective attack. The Second Successful Chemical Attack: The Tokyo Subway. (…) This time, the attack was relatively successful. The subway cars converged on the central station as scheduled. Eventually, twelve people died as a direct result of the assault. Over 5000 were injured, some receiving such severe damage to their cardiovascular system that they will ultimately die as a result of the attack. Others will survive but with lifelong effects. This attack was again motivated by Asahara’s undying conviction that he should accelerate the apocalyptic battle. He believed that the ensuing deaths and panic from the subway assault would paralyze Tokyo and the entire Japanese government. However, there was also a less spiritual motive for the attack. Aum Shinrikyo was about to get raided by the police in connection with a murder investigation. Asahara was convinced this subway attack would overwhelm the police and the murder investigation into the cult would be delayed indefinitely. (…)The police finally began to round up cult members and started a full-scale investigation into cult activities. This police action precipitated a final WMD attack by the cult. Determined to shield their leader from arrest, cult members staged another attack in the Tokyo subway system designed to keep the authorities too busy to look for Asahara. (…)Using a very simple system, the cult almost succeeded in generating and releasing enough poisonous gas to kill 20,000 people”[10]

Sara Daly, John Parachini, William Rosenau: “In 2000, the cult hacked into classified computer networks to obtain information about nuclear facilities in Russia, Ukraine, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, and Taiwan. Working from legitimate companies Aum had established, group members were able to obtain information about a Russia-commissioned device for plutonium processing, the Monju fast-breeder reactor in Japan, and the safety system of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Japanese police also discovered that Aum software developers had been collecting information about Japan’s nuclear power program. The cult compiled information about nuclear fuel suppliers and the transportation of nuclear materials through affiliated software companies that had developed computer programs for key corporations and governmental entities in Japan. Data on companies involved in Japan’s nuclear programs and those engaged in nuclear research were included. Police also discovered background files on 75 researchers working with radioactive materials and other nuclear-related studies. Other materials found in the raids indicated that Aum members measured radioactivity levels at a cult compound in Japan in 1988.”[11]


Evidence 2: Assassinations, Kidnappings and Extortions

Richard Danzig, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani and Zachary M. Hosford: “Tsutsumi Sakamoto [legal representative of Aum Shinrikyo] investigated the cult and discovered several cases of fraud, including the fact that Kyoto University had never tested Asahara’s blood. Sakamoto denounced Aum on a radio show. In response, Aum followers spread leaflets near his home accusing him of religious persecution. It appears, however, that Sakamoto simply wanted Aum to abandon some of its more harmful practices and to conform to those of more traditional religious orders. Hoping to reach an agreement with Aum, he invited its representatives to a meeting on the evening of October 31, 1989.  The meeting was intensely antagonistic. Sakamoto ended it by saying that he was about to air his charges in public. Asahara told Murai, Hayakawa, Satoru Hashimoto (Asahara’s bodyguard and martial arts expert), Okasaki, Niimi and Tomomasa Nakagawa that “there was no choice but to poa him,” and the senior members subsequently started planning Sakamoto’s death. (…)The group planned to make Sakamoto’s murder appear as though he died from natural causes. Nakagawa – who presumably was included in this secret mission because he had medical training, even though he had been a monk for only three months – recalls that it was the first time he heard botulinum toxin discussed. The conspirators, however, settled on killing Sakamoto during an ambush on his way home from work with an injection of potassium chloride. Murai prepared the syringe and gave it to Nakagawa, who was supposed to perform the injection.  The scheduled day of the assassination, November 3, 1989, turned out to be a holiday, so Sakamoto spent the day at home with his wife and one-year old son. The conspirators then decided to break into Sakamoto’s home in the early hours of November 4. They made such a mess of the attempt that they decided that killing all three members of the family would be necessary to avoid detection. The killings, however, prevented them from being able to conceal the deaths as natural. The Aum members gathered the remains of the victims and secretly buried them in different prefectures. When they reported back to Asahara, he was pleased. Asahara assured them that they had done the family a favor; their souls would be born again in a higher world.”[12]

Morris M: “The resulting cloud of nerve gas killed 12 people and injured as many as 5,500. The entire city was paralyzed. Hospitals overflowed. Subway stations resembled battlefields. It was the worst terror attack in Japanese history. By summer, it was clear that Aum Shinrikyo was responsible. An apocalyptic cult (…), the group had convinced its members that they needed to trigger an apocalypse as soon as possible. But the subway attack wasn’t just a random one-off. It was the culmination of years of creepy incidents involving Aum, each one scarier than the last. In 1989, Tsutsumi Sakamoto had every reason to be cheerful. His wife had just given birth to a baby boy, his legal career was taking off, and the young lawyer was making a name for himself taking on the new Aum cult in Tokyo. Then, in November, Tsutsumi and his family vanished. There was no note, no explanation, and no evidence. Japan’s police groped blindly in the dark, unsure if the Sakamotos had simply cut and run or if something darker was at work. Fast-forward to 1996. As part of the marathon series of trials following the subway gas attack, Aum member Tomomasa Nakagawa was cross-examined about the cult’s past crimes. The disappearance of the Sakamoto family came up. Nakagawa’s response was chilling. Fed up with the hotshot lawyer interfering in their business, Aum had decided to have Tsutsumi brutally murdered. (…) At 3:00 AM, they entered the house. Tsutsumi and his wife were asleep in bed. One member strangled Tsutsumi, while another kicked his wife half to death before strangling her, too. Her last words were, Please save the child, at least. Instead, the sect members located the baby and suffocated him with his bedding. They then drove the three bodies out into Japan’s remote countryside and buried them in metal drums. Although Aum was suspected of being involved, the authorities failed to investigate properly. It wasn’t the only time that the police let Aum get away with their crimes. (…) For a newly emerged cult, Aum was surprisingly sophisticated about funding itself. Members would have to pay to reach enlightenment, and special seminars costing tens of thousands of dollars were regularly held. At one point, the group even began operating its own restaurant chain and selling computers. However, by far, the most common means of funding came from extortion. At its most harmless, this involved blackmail on an industrial scale. Towns and cities across Japan would be contacted and told that Aum planned to open a compound there. They were then given the option to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the cult away. Most of them coughed up. More harmfully, the group entered into business with the Yakuza to manufacture and help sell illegal drugs. Worst of all were the kidnappings. Cult members would be quizzed over their families’ earnings. If it turned out that they were related to someone wealthy, they would frequently be ordered to kidnap that relative. One innkeeper was taken hostage by his own daughters, tortured, and forced to hand over 60 million yen. The tactic was scarily effective. By 1995, the cult was estimated to have a net worth of around $1.5 billion. (…) In 1994, Tadahiro Hamaguchi became one of history’s most gruesome firsts. On a late-night walk through Osaka, he became possibly the first person in history to be killed by VX. A nerve agent developed by the British after World War II, VX is so deadly that it makes sarin look like laughing gas. A single drop absorbed through the skin can kill you so fast that there would be no time to inject an antidote. For a brief period in the mid-1990s, Aum used it to murder their enemies. From 1994–95, more than 10 VX assassinations were carried out by the cult, usually by injection. The one man lucky enough to survive a spray attack was hospitalized for 45 days and left in a coma. As bad as that was, it was just the start of Aum’s long list of terrifying assassinations. Others were kidnapped and hanged on Aum property, their bodies incinerated in purpose-built microwaves. One such victim was Kiyoshi Kariya, a 68-year-old man whose brother was trying to quit the group. Kariya was kidnapped, drugged, held hostage, murdered, and then finally burned in one of Aum’s incinerators. His ashes were scattered in a lake, so no trace of him would ever be found. When Aum’s compounds were finally raided after the Tokyo subway attack, police discovered that at least eight other people had met the same hideous fate. They also discovered an assassination list. Had the cult not blown their cover with the 1995 sarin attack, the number of people incinerated in Aum’s ovens would have likely been much, much higher.”[13]

Jackie Fowler: “On June 27, 1994, clouds of sarin engulfed the Kita-Fukashi district of Matsumoto (central Japan). Seven people died and hundreds were injured. Initially, a local gardener was falsely accused and was cleared only after many months of investigation. Testimony revealed Asahara ordered the attack in the vicinity of three judges set to hear a case against the group. The refrigerated trucks were equipped with spraying mechanisms and driven from Aum’s main facility to Matsumoto. This gassing successfully injured the judges. (…)
Various violent incidents followed. On March 30, 1995, there was an attempted assassination of police Chief Kunimatsu, the head of the National Police Agency, and subsequent gas attacks occurred on trains in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. In these cases there were deaths or serious injuries. (…) Asahara and 104 followers have been indicted on various charges. Asahara himself has been indicted for: murder in relation to the Tokyo sarin gas attack on March 20, 1995 (twelve dead and 5,500 injured); murder in relation to Matsumoto Nagano Prefecture sarin gas attack in June 1994 (seven killed and 600 injured); kidnapping and murder of Tsutsumi Sakamoto (Lawyer representing Aum member parents) and his wife and infant son; kidnapping and death of Kiyoshi Kariya (Tokyo notary public) in February 1995; lynching of Kotata Ochida (“’uncooperative’” Aum member) in February 1994; illegal production of various drugs. Though Asahara maintains his innocence, many followers have confessed their involvement in these crimes and have claimed they acted under Asahara’s direct orders.[14] The first attacks targeted wavering members, or those about to leave the group. Police reported thirty-three Aum followers are believed to have been killed between October 1988 and March 1995. Further police speculation includes several lynching, eight deaths from intense ascetic training, two suicides, and twenty-one missing people who are presumed dead.”



Morris M: “One of Aum’s central tenets was that followers had to gain enlightenment through suffering. Although that sounds like the sort of meaningless platitude that any religious sect might come out with, Aum took it very seriously. When no suffering was forthcoming, they tortured their own followers to create it. Most famously, this involved their “thermotherapy” ritual. Followers would be dipped in scalding hot water to purify themselves, a practice that led to burns and at least one death. When physical pain wasn’t enough, the cult turned to the mental realm. Multiple initiation ceremonies involved the forced ingestion of narcotics and hallucinogens, followed by public emotional humiliation. Followers were frequently fed LSD, often without their even knowing they had taken the drug. For those who tried to escape the cult, things were even worse. Aum operated its own prisons and torture chambers, hidden inside giant shipping containers. Suspected dissidents could face all manner of brutal interrogation methods, if they weren’t simply killed outright. Yet, none of this seemed to even dent their popularity . . .   For a doomsday cult that was suspected of murder and tortured its own followers, Aum sure didn’t have any problems attracting new converts. At its height in 1995, the sect had an estimated 50,000 members, most living in Russia. This significant following translated into something tangible—power. Aum’s foothold in Russia was nothing if not terrifying. In less than half a decade, the group had managed to set up its own university in Moscow and had begun targeting disaffected students for recruitment. They even tried to set up their own company in the hopes of brainwashing the employees that would flock to them during the next economic downturn. By the mid-1990s, they were even controlling radio transmissions out of Vladivostok, broadcasting nightly television programs on Russia’s popular 2X2 channel and having their Japanese members trained for violence by Russian special forces. All of this influence paid off. The group began actively courting Russian nuclear scientists and even purchased a military attack helicopter. Money rolled in, and Aum grew increasingly bold.”[15]

Alexander E. Raevskiy: “Another reason for Aum’s popularity (especially among young Japanese) was that the founder of the cult, Shoko Asahara, understood what people needed at that moment, and used it in the promotion of his religion. Levitation and supernatural abilities were introduced in the form of manga and anime, beloved by all Japanese, so that people could quickly catch the main idea: living in society is boring, but joining Aum helps in making new friends, developing one’s skills, and reaching enlightenment. (…) Every guru should have his own legend, and Asahara created one after his trip to India in 1987. He told his disciples about a meeting with the god Shiva, that the Dalai Lama gave to him a special mission, and from now on he was guru (in Japanese – sonshi) Shoko Asahara. The Dalai Lama came to visit Japan in 1995, several months after the sarin attack. When asked about his meeting with Asahara, the Dalai Lama said that he remembered a strange Japanese man coming to visit him, but that he did not give any special mission to him. (…) [In 1988], the first death occurred in Aum: 21-year-old disciple Majima Terayuki died from a heart-attack during a 24-hour meditation session in a dark room. That death was a great psychological blow to Asahara: it meant that his religion brought people not to salvation, but to death. It became necessary to change the Aum doctrine in such a way as to justify murder, and Asahara took from Vajrayana, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, the idea of poa. Poa means sacred killing in the name of the guru: people can be killed, if they accumulate bad karma, and in this case poa helps them to be reborn with better karma in the next life.  From 1989, every person who did wrong from Asahara’s point of view could be killed for their bad karma. Aum had planned several (both successful and unsuccessful) murders, and when in 1992 the Japanese people didn’t vote for Aum Shinrito (Aum’s political party) in the parliamentary elections, Asahara announced that society (except Aum members) was filled with bad karma and needed poa.”[16]

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, JAKE ADELSTEIN: “At the height of its popularity Aum Shinrikyo had around 40,000 active followers who took part in bizarre rituals orchestrated by cult leader Asahara, who is partially blind. Their rites mixed elements of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism with brainwashing to convince followers Asahara had supernatural powers. According to an article marking the anniversary of the attacks in Tokyo Weekender last year, the group’s initiation ceremonies consisted of hallucinogenic binges on LSD during which Asahara made members reject materialism by handing over their wealth to him. (…)Asahara supposedly gave followers “superhuman powers” in exchange for their material wealth. Asahara also saw himself as something of a prophet, famously predicting a third world war instigated by the United States. As details emerged of Aum Shinrikyo’s operation in the 1990s, it came to appear less a religion than a criminal enterprise, manufacturing its own line of computers and making meth-amphetamines that was sold wholesale to the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-Gumi, a faction of Japan’s largest yakuza, or organized crime, group.”[17]

Brendan Cole: “A 2011 report carried out by the US-based Center for a New American Security (CNAS) reported how Matsumoto became an acupuncturist in the city of Kumamoto, but moved to Tokyo in 1977 to further his education. He developed an interest in New Age religions and turned to yoga, mysticism, Buddhist texts and the writings of Nostradamus. He opened a yoga school in Tokyo in 1984 called Aum Inc where he lectured how he was a source of spiritual power. By 1985, he would make public pronouncements that he was a sacred warrior charged with saving the world and how he would restore “original Buddhism” to the world. He changed the group’s name to Aum Shinsen no Kai which means “Aum Mountain Wizards”. CNAS reported how Matsumoto would use the theme of Armageddon to urge people to join his organisation which he said needed to acquire at least 30,000 members. In July 1987, he changed the name again, this time to Aum Shinrikyo (Aum Teaching of Truth) and he himself took on the moniker of Shoko Asahara. What does it believe? The focal point of the group is its reverence for Shoko Asahara who claims he is the first enlightened one since Buddha, although their beliefs are a hotchpotch of musings from Hinduism and Buddhism with a few apocalyptic Christian prophecies thrown in. His claim that only his acolytes would survive the apocalypse which he predicted would occur in 1996 or between 1999 and 2003 attracted many who were young smart university graduates, often from well-to-do families looking for meaning in life. The Council on Foreign Relations stated he claimed the US would be behind the end of the world by starting World War 3 with Japan. (…) Sarin is a nerve agent developed by Nazi scientists in the 1930s and is said to be 500 times more toxic than cyanide gas. On 20 March 1995, cult members put a liquid form of sarin into packages that resembled lunch boxes. They were then placed on five cars that converged at Kasumigaseki station, which is near government offices. The Japan Times reported Asahara as giving the reason for the attack as being a “holy attempt to elevate the doomed souls of this world to a higher spiritual stage”. They punctured the packages with umbrellas, leaving commuters gasping on the ground with blood pouring from their noses and mouths. (…)  Prosecutors believe that the cult has been actively recruiting new members and soliciting donations in Russia, where it already has an estimated 30,000 members.”[18]

BBC: “Aum Shinrikyo is designated as a terrorist organisation in the US and many other countries, but Aleph and Hikari no Wa are both legal in Japan, albeit designated as “dangerous religions” subject to heightened surveillance.”[19]

Jackie Fowler: “Asahara claimed that tests conducted at Kyoto University revealed his blood contained unique DNA. This “finding” constituted the blood initiation that was believed to enhance “spiritual power enhancement.” No such tests were run. (…) In July 1989, Asahara professed political action was necessary to save the world and hence the Shinrito (“Supreme Truth party“) political party emerged. Their purpose was to publicize Aum’s teachings, offer salvation to a wider audience, and provide Aum with access to publicity (means to aforementioned ends). All twenty five candidates from the party lost, and because they had truly expected to win, this served a great blow. The election led to more legal problems as accusations arose that several hundred followers falsified their legal residence so they could vote within Asahara’s constituency. (…) This period marked a major shift in Aum ideology. A group that initially sought to prevent an apocalypse now realized a new goal; they had to limit the number of deaths through religious activities and preparations (Mullins: 316). They could no longer save the world but needed to protect themselves. (…)  In the summer of 1994, Aum established its own “government” in opposition to the Japanese government (Reader: 81). Similar in organization to that of the Japanese nation, Aum’s governmental structure promoted Asahara’s personal “imperial aspirations”. (…) Aum Shinrikyo has no specific sacred text. Asahara has published a number of works, and most are drawn from his sermons. (…) as 1995 approached, his sermons and publications had a stronger Apocalyptic focus drawn from Christian thought, specifically Revelation. (…) Under the leadership of Fumihiro JoyuAum Shinrikyo is now seeking to regroup and rebuild. In an effort to change its image, Aum, has changed its name to Aleph, (…) It is not clear just how much distance the renewed Aleph has placed between itself and Shoko Asahara. They have not renounced the founding leader Asahara. In an interview with the New York Times Joyu stated Just like you wouldn’t stop your connection with physical fathers and mothers who commit a crime, we will not sever our connection with our spiritual father. (…) Full of Hindu motifs and practices, the primary deity in Aum is Shiva, the god of destruction. This deity embodies Aum’s main focus, the creation and destruction of the universe. (…) Asahara’s interest in the Book of Revelation and Prophecy of Nostradamus is reflected in his predictions for 1999. He initially taught that members must work to transfer evil energy into positive energy and avoid mass destruction via nuclear war. To be specific, 30,000 had to achieve liberation through Asahara’s teachings to save the world from such a fate. His theory of prevention shifted dramatically, and by 1990 he focused on mere survival (Mullins: 316). (…)  Richard Young, through his connections with a young member, was able to attend a sermon in the early 1990’s. (…) The problem, he says, was that “[Asahara] became so obsessed with what was wrong with Japan that he lost confidence even in the power of Buddhism” (Young: 235).[20] His early focus on the decay of spirituality and denounced materialism faded into the background and Aum’s leader failed to grasp the ethical fundamentals of Buddhism. (…) He failed to emphasize the importance of ethical training and a life of virtue. (…) Asahara focused on ascetic practice (discipline) and yogic technique (mind over body empowerment) (Young: 237). Asahara stressed isolation as crucial in serious training as the impure outside world only contaminated members — tight bonds kept all those involved pure (Young: 241). Young states this isolationism and apocalyptism is nothing more than a “symbolic projection” of Asahara’s anxiety and vulnerability of his achievements in a hostile world (Young: 241). The leader himself was a guru with a very nasty persecution complex and delusory notions of grandeur (Young: 244). He convinced his followers that such solitude was for their own welfare, and used drugs to keep them docile (Young: 242). The Master was more of a controller than a guide, as he used his influential powers to dominate Aum members. The traditional Indian guru would place the needs of his followers before his own (Young: 243). His constant creation of more complicated levels of ranking and definitions of enlightenment suggests that Asahara created such obstacles out of fear his followers would surpass him in their dedication and practice (Young: 243). Aum Shinrikyo’s belief system began as a mixture of traditional religious thought but continuously shifted towards a more apocalyptic movement.”

Neal A. Clinehens, Major, USAF: “This research project examines the Japanese religious cult Aum Shinrikyo and its attacks against Japanese citizens using chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The cult’s attacks demonstrate that hostile groups are willing to strike their host country and cause harm to their fellow citizens. (…)Aum Shinrikyo not only harmed its own members, it reached out and affected all of Japanese society. The cults aggressive mentality can be traced to the founder — Shoko Asahara. In the mid-1980’s, Asahara, who owned a massage and acupuncture clinic in Tokyo, developed a spiritual message based on attainment of total spiritual consciousness. Asahara based his spiritual authority on his having achieved total enlightenment — “holy vibration—while meditating in the Himalayas. This total enlightenment enabled him to have a series of visions. Most of these revelations were benign and involved ways that he could help others also attain total enlightenment. However, some of the visions had other meanings. Asahara’s other visions were a series of apocalyptic revelations that convinced him he would lead God’s army to victory against the United States in an end-of-the-world battle. Based on his authority of total enlightenment, his apocalyptic visions and a lifelong desire for power, Asahara began an effort to increase cult membership. Aum Shinrikyo grew into a cult of tens of thousands who believed Asahara would show them the key to happiness. He recruited members from Japanese society by emphasizing the positive aspects of his spiritual message. (…)  Laymember commitments ran from the merely interested to the fanatical. Many of the more fanatical laymembers decided to move into cult compounds. When they did, Asahara demanded they abandon all ties with the outside world, including communication with their families. Within the compounds, laymembers lived under regimented, “spiritually cleansing” conditions. Subjected to physical and psychological torture, punished members provided unskilled labor and kept the cult working on a routine, inexpensive basis. More importantly, they did not interact with outsiders and provided unquestioning physical labor that supported the cult’s extensive WMD construction and production programs. Laymembers were supervised by the second category of cult members, the true-believers. (…)From the ranks of the technical and scientific true-believers, Asahara chose a select few to help him implement an important decision he had kept secret from other cult members. In the late 1980’s, he had decided to somehow hasten the apocalyptic battle he had foreseen in his visions. Asahara chose three scientists to supervise the effort to help speed the arrival of his apocalypse. (…)The three were Hideo Murai, an astrophysicist who headed Aum Shinrikyo’s so-called Science and Technology Ministry, Seiichi Endo, who held a Ph.D. in molecular biology and Masami Tsuchiya, the cult’s top chemist. This trio enthusiastically agreed with Asahara’s goal of hastening the end of the world. Together, they possessed the technical knowledge suited for the production and use of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. (…)Aum Shinrikyo was a cult of personality. (…) Without internal checks and balances, and the added element of spirituality, the result may be a circular pattern of reinforcing behavior between the leader and followers that can become more bizarre at every turn. (…)Aum Shinrikyo was not motivated by politics. The cult’s motivating ideas were founded in religion. Some analysts have contended that the cult was a political organization because it planned to take over Japan after the apocalyptic battle with the United States. This conclusion misses the crucial point about the cult. Aum Shinrikyo was a religious cult with aspirations to power, but it was never defined by political thought. (…)Even though the outcome of Aum Shinrikyo’s WMD efforts would have had political ramifications, the cult’s driving motives and goals were religious, not political. (…) the cult was independent. Aum Shinrikyo’s only long term, interactive relationship with another group was its association with the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia, and these dealings never involved WMD. Instead, the cult labs produced illegal drugs and sold them to the Yakuza to get cash, which leads us to another point. Aum Shinrikyo was a self-financed organization. The cult gathered huge amounts of money though its own initiative to conduct extensive WMD research and development.”[21]

Tommy Kullberg: “The Tokyo District Court ordered Aum Shinrikyo to disband as a religious cooperation and the Japanese government attempted to apply the Antisubversive Activities Law, which is a process that continues today. Today, many of the Aum leaders have been sentenced to death due to their religious activities. The Tokyo District Court has taken the matter of Aum seriously. (…) Destructive cults also violate human rights by abusive techniques or unethical mind control. (…) Kullberg considers that some cults can directly tell its members to cut his or her relations with family members or from those who have no interest in joining their organization. Aum Shinrikyo recommended their members to disband all contact with their relatives, who did not have any interest in joining Aum (…) Even though we tend to focus on physical damages, these are not always the issues of biggest concern for a victim in a cult. Many former members in destructive cults have described their involvement as followed: Spiritual rape was more painful in my cult than sexual and physical abuse. (…) In Lifton’s criteria for mind control there is, mystical manipulation, where people who are converted into cults strive to work for a higher purpose. Kullberg states that some activities in cults can be service-work that is against the law, such as producing the sarin gas or M-16 gun rifles in Aum Shinrikyo. Why members in Aum did these activities could be since, they were told that they would reach a higher spiritual level by participating in these activities. ”[22]


Evidence 4: Attacks against Buddhism

Tommy Kullberg: “Asahara called Ikeda who is the leader of Soka Gakkai (Buddhism), the sixth devil, who brainwashed their members. (…)  Asahara said, when Aum was accused of brainwashing his members: “Japanese people are already brainwashed by the media, our brainwashing is the best, go and brainwash one after another.” (…) In Russia, an Orthodox priest had quite an odd method to rescue members in Aum. He started taking Yoga lessons from Aum and started to have discussion groups with their leaders. He proved to members in Aum how little the leaders knew about Buddhism and Christianity, thus gained so much respect that 50 members decided to leave. He became a threat for leaders in Aum and they tried to therefore kidnap him but failed. (…) Therefore problems may arise if cult members would hear religions’ original teachings as the case above in Aum Shinrikyo. (…) In Aum Shinrikyo, Asahara had the absolute power, since he was said to be God. (…) Asahara was not satisfied just being a sonshinn (a guru in Japanese). He additionally claimed to be Shiva, Buddha and the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.”[23]

Richard Danzig, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani and Zachary M. Hosford: [November 18, 1993 Sarin attack against Daisaku Ikeda (botulinum at the same time) ~December 20, 1993 Sarin attack against Daisaku Ikeda] “By mid-November 1993, Tsuchiya managed to produce 600 grams of sarin, and by December 1993, he accumulated three kilograms with a purity of approximately 90 percent. Although Tsuchiya states that he did not know how this material was used, Nakagawa says that it was used in an attack on November 18 against Daisaku Ikeda, the leader of Soka Gakkai (Buddhism) – a popular religious competitor of Aum. The attack was ineffectual, but Aum made another attempt about 30 days later using a truck to disperse the sarin (…). In a letter to the authors of this report, Nakagawa described what ensued: In December 1993, Takizawa and several workers customized a truck ([two ton,] with cloth hood) into one for sarin evaporation by order of Murai.”[24]


[1] Monterey Institute of International Studies, Cronology of Aum Shinrikyo’s CBW activities

[2] Aum Shinrikyo: Japan’s Death Cult Is Hiding In Europe, https://www.thedailybeast.com/aum-shinrikyo-japans-death-cult-is-hiding-in-europe

[3] Japan Times, Cult attraction: Aum Shinrikyo’s power of persuasion, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/14/national/history/cult-attraction-aum-shinrikyos-power-persuasion/

[4] Judge Yamazak, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/837000.stm

[5] Japan Times, High court upholds life sentence for Aum member Katsuya Takahashi for role in subway sarin attack  https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/07/national/crime-legal/high-court-set-rule-ex-aum-fugitive-takahashis-appeal-life-term/#.WfGTKO7bvIU

[6] Council of Foreign Relations, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/aum-shinrikyo

[7] Morris M., 10 Unsettling Facts About Japan’s Creepiest Cult

[8] James Forest, Framework for Analyzing the Future Threat of WMD Terrorism, Journal

of Strategic Security 5: 55 (2012), http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1193&context=jss 

[9] Journal of Strategy Security, Aum Shinrikyo’s Nuclear and Chemical

Weapons Development Efforts


[11] Sara Daly, John Parachini, William Rosenau, Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Kinshasa Reactor Implications of Three Case Studies for Combating Nuclear Terrorism

[12] Richard Danzig, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotaniand Zachary M. Hosford, Aum Shinrikyo: Insights Into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons

[13] Morris M., 10 Unsettling Facts About Japan’s Creepiest Cult

[14] Mullins, Mark R. 1997. “Aum Shinrikyo as an Apocalyptic Movement” in Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements: Thomas Robbins and Susan J. Palmer, eds. New York, NY: Routledge. 313-324.

[15] Morris M., 10 Unsettling Facts About Japan’s Creepiest Cult

[16] Alexander E. Raevskiy, Psychological aspects of the Aum Shinrikyo affair

[17] Aum Shinrikyo: Japan’s Death Cult Is Hiding In Europe, https://www.thedailybeast.com/aum-shinrikyo-japans-death-cult-is-hiding-in-europe

[18] Why have 30,000 Russians joined Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo?  http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/why-have-30000-russians-joined-japanese-doomsday-cult-aum-shinrikyo-1553461

[19] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35975069

[20] Young, Richard. 1995. “Lethal Achievements: Fragments of a Response to the Aum Shinrikyo Affair.” Japanese Religions. 20:2. 230-245.


[22] Tommy Kullberg, Cult and Mind Control – A literature study of two books written in Japanese by two missionaries in Japan

[23] Tommy Kullberg, Cult and Mind Control – A literature study of two books written in Japanese by two missionaries in Japan

[24] Richard Danzig, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani and Zachary M. Hosford, Aum Shinrikyo: Insights Into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons



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