March 20, 1995 – Terrorist Sarin Attack in Tokyo

On this day in history, twelve (some sources say thirteen) people were killed, and more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin were released on five separate subway trains in Tokyo, Japan.

While nearly 200 members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult had been convicted in the nerve gas attack, including its leader, Shoko Asahara, two other fugitives escaped capture. One of the two, a senior cult member, was apprehended finally in 2012. The second was arrested not long afterward, having been spotted at a 24 hour comic book cafe.

Aum founder Shoko Asahara (who referred to himself as the “Sacred Emperor of Japan”) and 12 of his followers were put on death row in Japan for their involvement in the attack.

Workers cleaning a train car after members of AUM Shinrikyo released sarin in the Tokyo subway Kyodo/Landov

Workers cleaning a train car after members of AUM Shinrikyo released sarin in the Tokyo subway Kyodo/Landov

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