Victims' families submit request over 1995 Tokyo sarin gas attack

Wednesday will mark 29 years since the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. Bereaved families have urged the government to work toward ensuring compensation for them and to prevent any recurrence.

On March 20, 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult released the toxic nerve gas inside packed rush hour subway trains on three lines in central Tokyo. Fourteen people died and about 6,300 others were injured.

Takahashi Shizue, whose husband was killed in the attack, heads a victims' group. On Monday, she and others handed over a letter of request to Justice Minister Koizumi Ryuji and Public Security Intelligence Agency Director-General Urata Hirokazu.

The group is calling on the government to cooperate in ensuring that the cult's successor groups provide adequate compensation to the victims and their families.

The letter also urges the authorities to keep the groups under surveillance and to preserve materials relevant to the attack to prevent its memories from fading.

The government has already imposed strict controls on one such group, called Aleph. It is required to report its activities every three months and is banned from using some of its facilities and receiving donations.

Takahashi told reporters she is terrified that groups that follow the teachings of the cult are still able to operate. She expressed her hope for the government to come up with measures to remove the potential danger they pose.