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More than 23 years after the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, Shoko Asahara and six more of the 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo who were sentenced to death for the attack have been executed. In Japan there are no set dates for executions, and executions are generally only publicised after they had been carried out. Opinion polls in Japan show strong public support for the death penalty.

Aum Shinrikyo led by Asahara combined Buddhist, Hindu and even some Christian elements. While the cult's practices and teachings were already controversial, they were not regarded as a threat to Japanese society at first. In 1990, seeking mainstream respectability, Aum leaders even ran in the general election. It is believed that their failure in the election led to their radicalisation, with a plan to overthrow the government through a campaign of terror, using biological weapons. Their interest in Russia led to them acquiring numerous equipment and rumours of trying to acquire nuclear material.

After the attacks, Aum continued to exist. They changed their name to Aleph in 2000, but in 2007 the "moderate" faction led by Fumihiro Joyu split to form Hikari no Wa, while the hardliners devoted to Asahara's legacy continue under Aleph. Both groups were kept under PSIA surveillance.

Most terrorism in Japan has traditionally been to Far Left movements known as the New Left, most notably the Japanese Red Army who carried out numerous attacks outside Japan as well.
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