October 23, 1995 in Nation/World

Thousands Mourn Family Of Three Believed Slain By Japanese Cult

Associated Press
 

More than 11,000 mourners filled an arena Sunday for the funeral of a family believed to have been killed by the cult blamed for the nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway.

Another 15,000 people lined nearby streets to pray and lay flowers for lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife Satoko and their 1-year-old son Tatsuhiko.

Sakamoto was waging a legal battle against the Aum Shinri Kyo, or Supreme Truth, cult when he and his family disappeared in 1989. He was acting on behalf of parents trying to get their children away from the cult and former cult members trying to regain assets they had donated.

Information from cult members arrested following the March 20 subway gassing led to the discovery last month of the family’s buried remains.

Twelve people died in the subway attack and another 5,500 were sickened.

Since the subway attack, senior cult members reportedly have confessed to a string of unsolved crimes and linked several, including Sakamoto’s death, to orders from Shoko Asahara, 40, the cult’s leader.

In the latest report, Kyodo News Service said Sunday that Asahara and other senior cult members circled the Imperial Palace in 1993 in a car, spraying deadly bacteria, but the bacteria lost its effect in the air.

The report, quoting investigative sources, said Asahara left in the middle of the operation out of fear of the bacteria.

Police spokesmen said they knew nothing of the reported operation.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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