Executed cult founder Shoko Asahara is cremated in Tokyo, as family feuds over his remains

Authorities fear the remains of the founder of the deadly Aum Shinrikyo cult could become a rallying point for his followers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 9:36am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 9:12pm

The body of executed Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara was cremated in Tokyo on Monday, a source familiar with the matter said.

To whom the remains will be handed over has been a focus of concern following Friday’s executions of Asahara and six former senior members of the cult for crimes including the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack, which resulted in the deaths of 29 people and sickened over 6,000 people.

A different source close to the matter has said that Asahara told a detention house guard to give his remains to his fourth daughter.

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But Asahara’s wife and some of his other children want his remains and on Saturday they submitted a written request to Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, according to their lawyer.

Law enforcement authorities are keen to know who will take possession of the remains of Asahara, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, given concerns it might be used to rally his followers and inspire retaliation against the government and society.

Asahara’s fourth daughter is one of six children – two sons and four daughters – that he had with his wife, a former senior member of the cult.

The request was signed by the wife and second daughter among others but not the fourth daughter, who declined to comment.

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According to the request, the Tokyo detention house told the wife that Asahara did not designate them to take possession of his remains.

But the wife’s side asserted it is “inconceivable” that Asahara designated anyone to take charge of his body, citing a document dated May 10 and submitted by a doctor at the detention centre saying it was impossible to communicate with him.