Tokyo gripped by doomsday fears
Saturday 15 April 1995
There was tension in the Tokyo air last night as people waited to see if predictions by Japan's doomsday cult of an apocalypse today come true.
Yesterday, police simultaneously raided premises owned by Aum Shinri Kyo, the sect suspected of the sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo's underground.
In their largest peacetime operation, about 100,000 police officers - more than one third of the national force - descended on 130 buildings and imposed heavy security checks across the capital. The raids included the village of Kamikuishiki, where tons of nerve gas ingredients have been uncovered, as well as regional offices, supermarkets, warehouses, computer shops, and even yoga clubs, noodle restaurants and babysitting services operated by the sect. Last night, there were noticeably fewer weekend revellers in Tokyo and police were patrolling department stores, stations and subways.
The Aum guru, Shoko Asahara, who has been in hiding since the underground attack, is said to have predicted that a catastrophe will strike the Shinjuku area today. Newspapers said relatives of sect members had been warned to avoid Tokyo this weekend. Two department stores will shut today.
There were scuffles between Aum believers and police, who dragged cult children kicking and screaming from parents.
Police have not openly linked the sect to the 20 March attack, which killed 11 people and made more than 5,000 ill, but they have since arrested 107 members on charges including abduction, illegal confinement and traffic offences.
An Aum spokesman said Mr Asahara's prophecy of a disaster was based on his astrology studies. Aum posed no threat.
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks reveals he has inoperable cancer: 'I've had an incredible life'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...
£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...