Japan cremates body of sarin attack cult guru

Shoko Asahara was executed with six of his followers on July 6, 2018.
Shoko Asahara was executed with six of his followers on July 6, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese authorities on Monday (July 9) cremated Shoko Asahara, the executed head of the Aum Shinrikyo cult behind a deadly 1995 sarin attack, a lawyer for his daughter said.

Relatives of Asahara, who was executed with six of his followers on Friday, are now vying for his remains.

"I acknowledge the cremation of the body of former death-row inmate Chizuo Matsumoto," lawyer Taro Takimoto wrote on his blog, using Asahara's real name.

Media reports said the cremation occurred on Monday morning.

Takimoto represents Asahara's fourth daughter, who left the cult years ago and is seen as the most likely recipient of her father's remains.

His wife, who belongs to an Aum successor cult, is also seeking the ashes.

Takimoto said the remain had not been turned over yet, and the Justice Ministry declined comment.

Asahara, 63, was executed on Friday with six former followers for their role in the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway and other crimes.

The subway attack killed 13 people and injured thousands.

A further six cult members remain on death row.

Japanese authorities remain on alert for potential retaliation after the executions.