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Thursday, December 24, 1998 Published at 02:15 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Japanese sect's nerve gas plant destroyed

"Dr Death", Ikuo Hayashi, was convicted for his part in the Tokyo attack

A nerve gas production plant, set up by the Japanese Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth) sect, has been destroyed, according to a United Nations chemical weapons team.

The cult was responsible for the gas attack on the Tokyo underground railway system four years ago, which killed 12 people and injured thousands more.

Scientists from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons went to Japan to inspect the facilities, which had been used in the manufacture of the deadly sarin gas.


"We are happy to announce the destruction of this facility," the team's leader, Ichiro Akiyama, told a news conference at OPCW's headquarters in The Hague.

Demolition work of the plant and surrounding prefabricated buildings started last September.

Over 30 pieces of equipment, including reactors and containers, were cut into small pieces and crushed by a contractor hired by the Japanese government.

OPCW is the UN body that polices compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been ratified by over 120 countries worldwide.


The subway attack - the worst act of terrorism in modern-day Japan - shocked a nation that had taken safety on the streets for granted.

The cult has also been implicated in other incidents including:

  • another nerve-gas attack in central Japan in 1994 which killed seven people;

  • in the deaths of several wayward followers;

  • the near-fatal shooting of Japan's top police official;

  • and the kidnapping and killing of an anti-cult lawyer and his family.

    More than 400 of the cult's 10,000 members in Japan were arrested and it was forced to disband. More than 100 members have been charged in connection with the subway gas attack.

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