Tokyo Sarin Gas Attack

From Virtual Japan

Jump to: navigation, search

The Tokyo Sarin Gas Attack was an act of terrorism carried out by members of Aum Shinrinkyo on March 20, 1995. Five separate, coordinated attacks involved the release of sarin gas on multiple lines of the Tokyo Metro subway system causing the deaths of 12 commuters, serious injury to fifty and a number of temporary injuries to one thousand additional commuters. This is the most severe attack to have occurred on Japanese soil since World War II.


Lead Up

The Aum Shinrikyo movement existed in Japan as a cult of sorts that infused a series of beliefs on its members regarding the end of the world. Existing today still as Aleph, the group has rebranded its image multiple times but is still largely known as Aum.

There are multiple theories as to the cause of the attack, with prosecutors calling it an attempted coup by the cult to put Shoko Asahara in charge of Japan as Emperor and police initially reporting it as an attempt to instigate an apocalypse. The defense for Asahara in the trial stated that the members of the group planned the attack on their own with no knowledge by the rest of the group.

The Aum Shinrikyo group first attacked Japanese soil on June 27, 1994 with a sarin gas attack from a refrigerator truck near the homes of judges that were sitting on cases that would take land away from the group – 7 people died and 500 were injured in this initial attack.


There were ten men involved in the sarin gas attacks – five drivers and five gas releasers. Three men are still at large and considered on Japan’s Most Wanted List, thirteen years after the attacks. The teams and the trains they attacked are as follows:

The Attack

The attack occurred on Monday March 20, 1995 when the five gas releasing members Aum Shinrikyo released Sarin gas on the Tokyo Metro during morning rush hour. The gas was contained in plastic bags wrapped in newspaper with two packets carried by each perpetrator and a total of nearly 1 liter of the gas total.

The bags were carried aboard certain trains with pointed umbrellas in hand. The perpetrators, at a preset time dropped the packets and punctured them multiple times with their umbrella before leaving the train. The gas then evaporated and entered the train car and stations to be inhaled.

After the Attacks

Following the attacks, 688 patients were transported by ambulance to hospitals with more than 5,000 additional individuals going by their own means. 5,510 patients were seen by hospitals with 17 critical, 37 severe, and 984 moderately ill as a result of the attacks. Most of the moderately ill were released by mid afternoon with most patients returning home within a week. The initial death toll on the day of the attacks was eight with four more dying in the days to follow.

External Links

Pop culture / Travel / Forum / Gallery / FAQ/Help / Submit

Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.