Japan remembers subway gas attack, 20 years on

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers flowers to victims of the sarin poison gas attack on the subway system by members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, which killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000 at the Tokyo subway's Kasumigaseki station March 20, 2015. REUTERS Photo.

Japan marked the 20th anniversary on March 20 of coordinated attacks on the Tokyo subway system, when a doomsday cult released a Nazi-developed nerve gas on packed trains, killing 13 people and injuring 6,000.
At Kasumigaseki, one of the hardest hit subway stations, staff and relatives of some of those who died in the biggest attack on post-WWII Japan fell silent at 8:00 am to remember those who were lost and those still affected.        

"Twenty years have passed but I think the victims are still suffering," said Fumiko Suzuki, who was there to pay tribute to a friend made ill by the invisible clouds of sarin that spread through rush-hour trains.
"We should not forget about the attack."       

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also visited the station in the afternoon to place flowers in memory.
"I offered my condolences to the victims as we marked the 20th anniversary of the attack," he said.
"The incident isn't over yet because many are still suffering from the after-effects of the sarin."         

Thirteen members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult remain on death row for their part in the March 20, 1995 terror and for other murders and kidnappings the group carried out.
Cult leader Shoko Asahara, a blind mystic who espoused a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, was convicted of ordering five teams of followers to dump packets of sarin on trains, puncturing them with the sharpened tip of an umbrella.
Thousands of commuters were unknowingly exposed to the colourless, odourless nerve gas, which even in low doses can cause paralysis of the lungs and neurological damage.
Some died almost instantly, while others suffered gradually worsening...

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