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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

Come on, you know as well as I do what it is...



'Of course,' he said, 'you know what it is, Rieux, don't you?'
'I'm waiting for the results of the tests.'
'Well, I know. I don't need tests. I spent part of my life working in China, and I saw a few cases in Paris, twenty years ago - although no one dared put a name to it at that time. Public opinion is sacred: no panic, above all no panic. Then a colleague told me: "It's impossible, everyone knows it has vanished from the West." Yes, everyone knew that, except the dead. Come on, Rieux, you know as well as I do what it is...'
'Yes, Castel,' he said. 'It's almost impossible to believe. But it appears that it must be the plague.'

-- Albert Camus, The Plague, 1947



- Naturellement, vous savez ce que c'est, Rieux ?
- J'attends le résultat des analyses.
- Moi, je le sais. Et je n'ai pas besoin d'analyses. J'ai fait une partie de ma carrière en Chine, et j'ai vu quelques cas à Paris, il y a une vingtaine d'années. Seulement, on n'a pas osé leur donner un nom, sur le moment. L'opinion publique, c'est sacré : pas d'affolement, surtout pas d'affolement. Et puis, comme disait un confrère : "C'est impossible, tout le monde sait qu'elle a disparu de l'Occident." Oui, tout le monde le savait, sauf les morts. Allons, Rieux, vous savez aussi bien que moi ce que c'est...
- Oui, Castel, dit-il, c'est à peine croyable. Mais il semble bien que ce soit la peste.

-- Albert Camus, La peste, 1947

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