In the years since the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, Aum Shinrikyo–a identified by numerous world groups as a terrorist group–has changed their name, denounced violence, and publicly distanced themselves from their dark past.
But if a July 1 news report is any indication, this leopard hasn’t changed its spots.
For those unfamiliar with the incident, the 1995 sarin gas attack was the worst attack in post-war Japanese history. The attack, which was actually five strikes on five different subway stations, was carried out simultaneously by 10 members of the Aum group. It left 13 people dead, 47 have been declared permanently disabled, and hundreds more have suffered from permanent eye-strain and PTSD.
Though most of the attackers, including Aum Shinrikyo’s leader Shoko Asahara, were arrested almost immediately, three remained at large for over a decade and a half. In 2011, one member turned himself in, and 2012 saw the arrests of the final two fugitives.
Despite this sordid history, the group was not banned, and they were able to restructure and rename themselves Aleph in 2000. However, the government did give additional funding to Japan’s National Public Safety Commission to closely monitor the group’s activities and many regard it with suspicion.
Which brings us back to Monday’s news story. Not only has Aum continued as Aleph, but their numbers have grown, with 1,450 people currently among their ranks. That’s a 150-person increase since 2011, suggesting that they’ve become more aggressive with recruitment.
But here’s were the story gets scarier.
Upon entering and inspecting the group’s headquarters, photographs of various high-ranking members of the National Public Safety Commission, police officers, and lawyers were discovered–stabbed through with a 10-centimeter knife!
Despite the threat signaled by the finding, the director of the commission was unfazed. “The group’s dangerousness and anti-social nature remains unchanged,” he said adding that they would not stop investigating the group or working to uncover their true intentions.
Here’s a news report showing photos of the room and the stabbed pictures.
Japanese commenters were mostly spooked by the story.
I have no words.
Religions can’t just change very easily.
It’s just pictures, though…
“At the end of June, there were 1,450 members, having increased by 150 since 2011.” What the hell?? Terrifying!
Is this organization summoning demons?
I’m not defending them or anything, but this doesn’t even seems like a half-formed plan.
There’s terrorist groups of this level even in Japan…
If you’re interested in learning more about the Tokyo subway attacks, Haruki Murakami, world-renowned novelist, produced a highly-praised book on the subject, titled Underground, that you can pick up from most book retailers.