Ex-Aum spokesman apologizes to survivor of 1994 gas attack

TOKYO — (Kydo) — Fumihiro Joyu, former spokesman of the Aum Shinrikyo, met for the first time Wednesday a man who was falsely branded as a suspect in the 1994 sarin gas attack by Aum members in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and offered his apologies for the incident, informed sources said.

Joyu, 44, who founded a splinter group called “Hikari no Wa” (Circle of Light) in May this year, had never met in person, or talked on the phone with, Yoshiyuki Kono, 57, whose wife Sumiko is still suffering severe effects from the gas, although he had sent a letter of apology to him.

Kono, whose house was raided by police at that time, was branded by media as a suspect in the June 1994 attack after he first alerted authorities to the deadly gas sprayed at a parking lot in Matsumoto. The attack killed seven residents nearby and injured more than 100.

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Along with members of the new group, Joyu paid a visit to Kono in Matsumoto on Wednesday afternoon and spoke to him for about three hours about the incident.

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