In announcing the execution of the final six members, who were all on death row, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa repeatedly said the executions were carried out after careful deliberation and in consideration of the fear, pain and sadness inflicted on numerous victims of the cult's crimes. The two others were convicted in other crimes, including the 1989 murders of an anti-Aum lawyer and his wife and 1-year-old baby and a 1994 sarin attack in the city of Matsumoto in central Japan, which killed seven people and injured more than 140.
The last six members of a Japanese doomsday cult have been executed for a series of crimes in the 1990s including a deadly sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subways that killed 13 people.
The 13 cult members spent decades on death row while investigations continued and Japan argued about what to do with them.
"I ordered executions based on extreme careful consideration".
In 1995, the group members released sarin in liquid form at five points on the subway network, targeting lines including those passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, home to the Japanese government. Numerous group's members remain in prison.
The executions early Thursday followed the hanging of the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult and six of his followers on July 5.
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One man who was injured in the subway sarin attack told AFP he felt "the world had become slightly brighter".
"The taking of a life in retribution is never the answer", the group's East Asia researcher Hiroka Shoji said in a statement Thursday.
But Kamikawa said it was "not appropriate under the current circumstances to abolish the death penalty". She called their crimes unprecedentedly heinous and said they should never be repeated.
It officially disowned Asahara in 2000 and renamed itself Aleph, but experts say the former guru retained a strong influence before his execution.
The executions were announced only after they had happened, as is the practice in Japan.