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On March 20, 1995 a nerve gas believed to be sarin was released in Tokyo. The gas was released in several commuter trains throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area, killing six, and injuring twelve hundred others. This act, described by local authorities as "a case of organized and indiscriminate murder, but one item in a string of crimes committed by the doomsday religious cult Aum Shinri Kyo (Aum Supreme Truth). At about 8: 15 A. M. Tokyo time, packages left on several commuter trains throughout Tokyo released a deadly nerve gas.
The subway stations initially cited to be affected were Tsukiji, Kasumigaseki, Kamiacho, Kokkai-gijidomae, Hibia, Hacchobori, Kodenmacho, Nakano-Sake, Akasakamitsuke, Ochanomizu, Hong-Sancho me, kraken, Ningyocho, And Minami Asahara stations. Kokkai-gijjidomae is the station that serves that Japanese Parliament and there was a package left on the stairs leading to the hotel next door to the Parliament building, but no one inside the hotel had been reported injured. More than eight hundred people were taken to more than eighty hospitals throughout Tokyo, and at least ten were reported to be in critical condition. The Japanese Government mobilized a chemical warfare team numbering one hundred forty members, and the police rescue team wore chemical suits to investigate the incident. Apart from the rescue teams, fire fighters, subway workers and even uninjured passengers helped carry the victims out of the subway on stretchers and makeshift slings.
The gas affected more than five thousand people and killed twelve. According to one article, " It normally takes several weeks to completely recover from miosis, a contraction of the pupils that is characteristic of organic phosphorous compound gasses such as sarin. Other effects of the gas sarin can last for life. On March 21, a team of police posted themselves in the subways partly to protect against further attacks and partly to interview passengers concerning the previous day's attack. Several commuters stated that they had seen men wearing sunglasses, which is unusual for a subway, and in some cases the men were wearing surgical masks as well. One man reportedly placed a plastic bag wrapped in newspaper on a subway car and a passenger kicked it onto the platform where it started emitting white fumes.
Two people died at the station and the man leaving the package was later taken to the hospital. In a similar incident, a man wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask placed a paper wrapped package by his feet, at which point he "fiddled around also emitted deadly fumes. Several other men in sunglasses reportedly left newspaper wrapped packages on other cars that later emitted sarin fumes. Authorities failed to find any suspects. Sarin was originally developed by German Nazis in the 1930 's, but is suspected of being first used by Iraq in 1988 in suppressing Kurdish rebels.
In addition Japan used deadly gases in World War II against China, and large stockpiles of it were left behind at the end of the war. Although the chemicals to produce sarin are easy to come by, it would take a thorough understanding of chemistry to produce sarin. Professor Hiroshi Kato, a chemistry professor at the Shinshu University, said that it would probably take an organic chemist with a graduate degree to produce sarin. Sarin is a straw colored liquid that had no odor itself and the fumes are deadly to inhale. Symptoms from inhaling the fumes include, but are not limited to, pupils contracting to pinpoints, drooling, runny nose, tears, tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, headache, and convulsion. As little as 0. 5 milligrams is enough to kill.
Aum Shinri Kyo means "Aum Supreme Truth. " The group was founded by Show Asahara, a blind guru or prophet for the cult. This is a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism and seems to maintain the paranoid belief that the governments of both Japan and The United States plot against them. This delusion is manifest in the videotaped statement that Asahara made to the Japanese press on March 24 1995, claiming; "The sarin gasKwho blew it in there? Without a doubt, it was the U. S. Military. " Aum Shinri Kyo was immediately suspected of the subway attack, as they had been involved with Sarin gas before.
On July 2 1993, more than one hundred residents complained about noxious fumes rising from a building owned by Aum Shinri kyo. On June 27 1994, seven people died and forty-four others were hospitalized due to fumes rising from a pond next to a dormitory in Matsumoto. Many speculate that the Matsumoto incident was a test for the subsequent subway gassing. On March 5 1995, nineteen people were hospitalized after inhaling fumes on a train on Yokohama. On the fifteenth of the same month, "three attache cases containing and unknown liquid are discovered at a Tokyo subway station.
They include small-motorized fans, a vent, and a battery. One gives off vapor. Even after the confession of Asahara later in 1995, most of the cult is free so many Japanese citizens are afraid. After all, over five thousand people were just going to work on the morning of Monday, March 20 1995. These people never suspected that they might be permanently affected by nerve gas before clocking in, much less brutally murdered before lunch. What Aum Shinri Kyo did was more that attack the people on the subway.
The shocked the world with mindless brutality. Considering domestic and international terrorism, it seems that the terrorists and religious cults aren't really fighting for some ideal or a piece of land. They just wish to kill. This idea is easily supported by the sarin gassing of the Tokyo subway on March 20 1995 by Aum Supreme Bibliography: Kirstof, Nicholas D. "Japanese Police Raid the Offices Of a Sect Linked to Poison Gas" New York Times 22 March 1995. "Poison Gas Fills Tokyo Subway, Six Die And Hundreds Are Hurt" 20 March 1995. "Toxic Fumes In Japan" Washington (D. C. ) Times 23 March 1995. "Tokyo TV Says Sect Leader Confessed" Washington (D.
C. ) times 5 October 1995. Pollack, Andrew. "Earlier Victims' Horror Revived: Was June Incident A Dry Run?" New York Times 22 March 1995. Witter, Willis "Toll Rises To 8 In Tokyo As Probe Begins" Washington (D. C. ) Times 21 March 1995. Watanabe, Teresa. "Poison Fumes in Tokyo Subway Kill 6, Hurt 900 " Los Angeles Times 20 March 1995. Scarborough, Rowan. "Subway Gassing Called A Preview Of Terror's Future" Washington (D.
C. ) times 21 March 1995.
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