Aum Guru's Prison Life Still Mystery As Gallows Near


Tokyo, Jan. 24 (Jiji Press)—Mystery surrounds the Tokyo prison life of Matsumoto Chizuo, also known as Asahara Shōkō, the guru of the now-defunct Aum Shinrikyō doomsday cult, even as he appears to be approaching the gallows.

Last week, the Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for imposing capital punishment on Matsumoto, 62, after it upheld an indefinite prison term for the last remaining Aum Shinrikyō suspect over the cult's 1995 sarin attack on Tokyo's subway system and other crimes.

Meanwhile, a rare glimpse of his prison life was recently provided by the prison operator following an inquiry from a family court linked to proceedings started by one of his daughters.

Matsumoto retains his ability to hear and physical functions and suffers no psychiatric disorder, the operator said in response to the inquiry connected with an inheritance-related claim by Matsumoto's fourth daughter against her parents. She told a press conference last November that the claim had been accepted the previous month.

The inmate, whose death sentence became final in September 2006, gets exercise, takes baths and accepts health checks, but he adamantly refuses to meet visitors, according to the operator.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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