10 years on, public still fears Aum

Time apparently has done little to alleviate people’s fears over the possibility of terrorist attacks.

In a poll conducted a week before the 10th anniversary of the deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by the Aum Supreme Truth cult, more than 80 percent of respondents said they were concerned about similar attacks in the future.

The Yomiuri Shimbun survey found that more than 70 percent of respondents still had misgivings about the cult, which has been allowed to continue its activities under the new name of Aleph even after killing 12 people and sickening thousands in 1995.

To reduce these concerns, the government will have to implement measures seen to be capable of preventing a similar terrorist attack.

The survey consisted of face-to-face interviews conducted Saturday and Sunday on 3,000 eligible voters at 250 locations. Usable responses were provided by 1,795 pollees.

Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they were greatly or somewhat apprehensive about terrorist attacks such as the 1995 sarin attack, with a scant 15 percent saying they were not worried.

By occupation, salaried workers topped the list of those who were concerned, at 87 percent, apparently reflecting their higher frequency of using public transportation systems.

An average of 73 percent of those polled–77 percent of females and 68 percent males–expressed concerns over Aum. Eighty percent of pollees who said they were apprehensive about a possible repeat terrorist attack also expressed uneasiness about the cult.

Aum founder Chizuo Matsumoto, commonly known as Shoko Asahara, was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in February last year, but procedures to begin his appeal trial have yet to begin. In light of this, 84 percent of those polled criticized the drawn-out court proceedings while only 12 percent said were uncritical.


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The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan
Mar. 18, 2005
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday March 18, 2005.
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