A wide-range of reactions were heard Friday to news of the executions of Shoko Asahara and six former senior members of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo - which carried out the deadly 1995 sarin nerve gas attack in the Tokyo subway system - with some saying it was good the sentences were finally carried out and others recalling the devastation inflicted by the group.
On March 20, 1995, members of the cult left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on train lines going through Tokyo's political district. They killed a lawyer and his family because he was a cult opponent, and they tested sarin in an earlier attack that killed seven and injured dozens in a city in northern Japan.
Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara (center) sits in a police van following an interrogation in Tokyo on September 25, 1995.
He pleaded not guilty and never testified, but regularly delivered rambling and incoherent monologues in English and Japanese in court during the eight years of his trial.
As the cult grew, the families of members began to raise the alarm, and complaints of brainwashing and abuse within Aum Shinrikyo became more common.
Shoko Asahara, the charismatic, virtually-blind leader of the Aum Shinrikyo sect, has been on death row for more than a decade over the attack, which shocked the world and prompted a massive crackdown on the cult.
Others keeled over, foaming at the mouth, with blood streaming from their noses.
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Founded in 1984, the cult attracted many young people, even graduates of top universities, whom Asahara hand-picked as close aides.
Born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu, Asahara changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed.
Aum released sarin on five trains on the Tokyo subway network during the morning rush hour.
Witnesses described noticing the leaking packages and soon afterwards feeling stinging fumes hitting their eyes.
Their first major attack happened in June 1994 when the group released sarin gas outside an apartment building in Matsumoto, targeting judges who were overseeing a case against Aum Shinrikyo.
"It's an end of an era", said one man, Masami Sakurai.
Rescue workers had to wear hazmat suits and gas masks to help the injured and deal with the poison.
They fear his death may trigger the naming of a new cult leader, possibly his second son. "We have to be on guard for a while", said Twitter user Chie.