June 12, 1995 in Nation/World

Mail Bomb Injured Aide In Tokyo Cult Accused Of Gas Attack Claims Responsibility For Blast

Associated Press
 

The cult accused of releasing nerve gas in Tokyo’s subway system also sent a mail bomb that maimed a Tokyo governor’s aide, a newspaper reported Sunday.

A senior member of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult has claimed the group manufactured and mailed the bomb to the residence of Tokyo’s governor in May, the national newspaper Yomiuri said.

The bomb was addressed to Gov. Yukio Aoshima, who supported disbanding the cult after the March 20 subway attack which killed 12 people and injured 5,500.

His government oversees religious organizations in Tokyo and has the authority to request courts to disband any deemed to be acting illegally.

Police would not comment on the report.

The cult also is being investigated in the deaths and disappearances of former cult members and opponents, as well as in connection with making conventional, biological and electronic weapons. Earlier reports said the cult planned guerrilla attacks on major Japanese cities.

Police suspect the cult also was looking into microwave weapons that could direct high-energy beams at targets, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

The bomb addressed to Aoshima was concealed in a book and mailed to his official residence several days before it exploded. But the governor, elected in April, had not yet moved in, and the package was forwarded to his office.

On May 16 - hours after cult leader Shoko Asahara had been arrested - the package exploded when Aoshima’s secretary, Masaaki Utsumi, opened it, blowing off his left fingers. Aoshima was out of his office at the time.

Asahara and 10 other cult leaders have been charged with murder in the subway attack.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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