TOKYO — Weapons stockpiles in facilities of the Aum religious sect were assembled on orders from the cult’s leader, Shoko Asahara, who was planning guerrilla attacks against Japanese cities, media reports citing confessions of cult members said today.
Caches of assault weapons and small firearms have been uncovered in police raids against the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth) sect, the cult suspected of the March 20 release of poison gas into the Tokyo subway system.
In confessions to police in recent days, high-ranking cult members in custody have said the weapons were intended for use in guerrilla attacks against several Japanese cities beginning in November, media reports said.
The cult’s “construction minister,” Kiyohide Hayakawa, laid plans for attacks on Tokyo, several cities on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, and on the main island of Honshu, the Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) quoted police sources as saying.
The attacks were intended to fulfill Asahara’s prophesies of an apocalypse in 1997 that only the cult would survive. Police raids on cult facilities have yielded guns, parts and ammunition.