A case study about the Aum Shinrikyo, Sarin attack on a Tokyo subway system, March 20, 1995.

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The Aum Shinrikyo sect was the brainchild of Chizuo Matsumoto, whose childhood aspirations apparently included leadership of Japan. In 1984 he started a small publishing house and yoga school, which gradually developed into a cult. He renamed himself Shoko Asahara ("Bright Light"), embarked on a course of cult expansion, increasingly bizarre teachings and rituals for devotees, and ultimately subversion; with the aim of achieving supremacy for his followers in Japan.

On March 20, 1995, during morning rush hour, ten highly placed members boarded five trains at different stations. At predetermined points, and time, the ten members punctured bags containing sarin wrapped in newspaper with umbrellas as they left their trains. The Kasumigaseki Station suffered the worst of the attack. The time and place appear to have been deliberately selected, since Kasumigaseki station is located under many government offices and the National Police Agency's headquarters. The incident was timed to coincide with rush hour, when trains were packed with commuters.

Twelve people were killed and up to 6,000 injured. (Recent studies put the number of persons who suffered actual physical injuries closer to 1,300, with the rest suffering from some form of psychological trauma.) The group was also linked to the release of sarin in Matsumoto Japan during 1994; Aum Shinrikyo was involved in a legal process concerning the legality of a land purchase. A gas attack on the overnight premises of three involved judges was planned for June 27th of that year, apparently to prevent an unfavorable ruling. An improvised sarin dissemination system was employed, involving a heater, fan and drip system, venting sarin vapors from the window of a disguised delivery truck.

Response and Actions Taken.

The first emergency call was received by the Tokyo fire department, at approximately 08:00hrs and before long, emergency medical authorities were...