March 20, 2020: Tokyo Subway Attack
Today is Friday March twentieth. Twenty twenty on this day in nineteen ninety five. The assumption rikio cult killed thirteen people when they released. Saron one of the deadliest nerve gases in the world into the Tokyo subway system. Welcome to today. True crime apart cast original due to the graphic nature of today's crime listener discretion is advised. Extreme caution is advised listeners. Under the age of thirteen today we're covering the option rikio terrorist attack of nineteen ninety five which left thirteen people dead and thousands more injured in the days following the attack. Japanese people were glued to their television screens as authorities hunted for those responsible. Let's go back to the morning of Monday. March twentieth. Nineteen ninety-five just as the Tokyo. Subway system was reaching. Its busiest point. It was sunny and brisk that morning as commuters stepped off the street and made their way down to the subway beneath Tokyo. The relative warmth was welcome people on the crowded platform at Kasumigaseki station waited patiently as packed. Trains rolled in passengers disembarked like Amorphous. Clouds of dark suits leather briefcases and harried faces. Those waiting on the platform moved forward to fill in the available space. The doors slid shot and the train glided out of the station. At first the ride seemed like any other those standing held firmly to handrails and avoided making eye contact with their fellow. Commuters Shatter was at a minimum. The train was moving at its habitual rate but not long. After the train had left Kasumigaseki station. A peculiar chemical smell began to waft through one of the carriages. It was strong and not completely unpleasant. Some likened it to paint thinner and while no one was sure what the smell was or from where it was coming. The crowd started to shift uncomfortable and confused. Something was wrong. The air inside the carriage began to feel thick and people started to cough loud gasping coughs. They were fighting to get air into their lungs. All around the cramped space people seem to lose control of their bodies. Some sat convulsing in their seats still more were slumped against the walls or those standing near them as commuters sought to help or move away from the people with the worst symptoms. Some noticed a spreading pool of liquid in the middle of the car. Tendrils of the substance fingered out from what looked like a discarded plastic bag those closest to. It realized that the smell was coming from the puddle. A mad scramble began. No one wanted to touch the ominous liquid in the hysterical commotion. Someone thought to set off the emergency alarm. The train was still speeding beneath the streets of Tokyo. When passengers began to foam at the mouth people watched in horror as blood ran from the nostrils of others. Even those far away from the puddle were affected they struggled for air vomited shivered uncontrollably and felted desperate burning in there is as the train pulled into the next station screaming spread from the carriage to the platform doors to the train opened and waiting passengers were greeted with the horrific sight of convulsing bleeding and suffocating people immediately station staff began ordering evacuation of the platform with panicked urgency in their voices. They directed people to the nearest exit already. Those who could were pushing to get off the train. Some made it onto the platform only to collapse before they could get to an exit on the street above frightened. People streamed out of the subway. They held makeshift masks over their faces. Hoping to avoid breathing in the noxious air within minutes troops from an army chemical warfare unit. Were on the scene. They arrived in vehicles. Specially designed to clean poison from the air even as makeshift medical tents. Were set up on the sidewalk. Officials were determined to find out all they could about what had happened looking like. They stepped out of a science fiction. Movie troops enlarge orange. Spacesuits made their way down into the subway already on the hunt for the truth in the EERILY empty train cars. They found the remnants of the liquid pools on the floor. They determined that it had indeed come from a plastic bag which by the looks of things had been punctured by something sharp. The bag and the liquid were carefully collected and removed from the train. Testing would later reveal that the liquid was seren one of the deadliest nerve gases in the world. Someone had used it as a weapon. Identical bags were discovered amidst similar grisly scenes on four other. Tokyo trains on the streets above the tunnels. The city resembled a war zone. Ambulances raced through the streets rushing to get victims helicopters landed on those same usually packed roads. Ready to airlift people to hospitals around the country. When the dust finally settled the attack had killed. Thirteen people seriously injured at least fifty more and left over a thousand people with permanently affected vision and no one knew who was responsible yet coming up. We look at just who carried out this deadly terror attack listeners. I'm excited to announce that crime junkies flowers has a new podcast original series. I think you'll really enjoy. It's called supernatural with Ashley. Flowers and you can find brand new episodes every Wednesday. We all know that most mysteries can be solved by looking at the facts but sometimes the facts don't lead to a logical explanation and the truth lies somewhere in the unknown in supernatural with Ashley. Flowers Ashley takes a deep dive into the strange and surreal to explain some of the world's most bizarre true crime occurrences each week. She'll dig into a different crime or mystery where the most fitting theory isn't always the most conventional from exorcisms to unsolved murders to alien abductions. Ashley will take on. The tails challenge the unexplained and dissect the facts with a heavy helping of skepticism and rationale. So are you ready to get to the bottom of history's most peculiar events? Follow supernatural with Ashley. Flowers free on spotify. Or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story at the peak of rush hour on the morning of March Twentieth Nineteen Ninety Five. Tokyo subway system was thrown into chaos. When seren gas was released in five separate train? Carriages across the network in all the deadly attack claimed the lives of thirteen people and injured over a thousand more. The evening edition of Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun. The most read newspaper in the world headlined the incident the moving gas chamber the phrase called to mind the death camps of World War Two where millions of Jewish people were murdered indeed Saron was developed by Nazi scientists during the early part of World War Two but was never weaponized for use against the allied forces in fact the first confirmed use of Saron wasn't until nineteen eighty-eight when Saddam Hussein's forces us the nerve agent to kill an estimated five thousand Kurds in northern Iraq. The gas is typically odorless in its purest form but impure seren does have a faint smell which is likely what passengers on the Tokyo subway noticed on the morning of March twentieth suspicion quickly fell upon the option rikio Colt who had carried out a similar plot one year earlier in the Japanese city of Matsumoto in June of nineteen ninety four. The cult used seren to target judges presiding over legal dispute in which the group was embroiled. That attack left eight people dead now with. Sarran confirmed as the gas used in the subway. The group was on the country's radar once again. The Japanese people watched their televisions feverishly lapping up news about the attack and the hunt for those responsible. Large wanted posters of suspects from the called were placed prominently around the country. It wasn't long before they started to get results. Days after the attack police raided the assumption rikio compounds. Hundreds of members were arrested in connection with the deadly attack and once some of the culprits were in custody officials. Were better able to piece together. Exactly what had happened on the trains? The cult which had membership numbering in the tens of thousands across Japan and Russia boasted. Its own dedicated science minister. The group's chemists had worked to develop their own supply of Sarran and had plotted with the group's leader. Shoko Asahara to spread the gas across the subway system. Five pairs of option rikhye members carried out the attacks simultaneously when the targeted trains had pulled into stations. The terrorists had dropped sealed plastic bags full of liquid. Saron onto the ground then using umbrellas with sharpened tips. They punctured the bags before swiftly making their escape on their way out of the station. They each swallowed pills containing seren antidote. Leaving chaos and death in their wake. Most of those responsible for the attacks were in custody within days but the search continued for the group's leader Asahara. It would be two months before he was finally apprehended. At one of the cult's compounds hidden in a coffin like chamber Asahara was clutching fistfuls of money when police finally rated the complex at his trial in two thousand. Four Asahara spoke very little and was eventually sentenced to death along with six other members of his cult. He never offered any explanation for the attack of March twentieth. Nineteen ninety five but authorities came to their own conclusion. The attacks were intended to disrupt an upcoming police. Crackdown on the group. Some cult members also seem to believe that the tax would help usher in the apocalypse. Asahara had long promised his followers. It achieved neither goal following the attack. Option Rico was stripped of its tax exemption as a religious organization and was bankrupted paying compensation to the victims of their attack but the group did find a way to survive. It changed its name and now exists as Alif to this day. The Tokyo subway system remains one of the busiest in the world. Over eight million passengers ride daily looking back on the attacks. Experts agreed that had the gasping distributed more effectively. The death toll could have been in the tens of thousands inefficiency in this case actually saved lives. Thanks for listening today and true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson. If you're interested in learning more about option Rico. Check out our cults episodes on the group today and true crime is a podcast original. You can find more episodes up today and true crime and all other podcast originals for free on spotify. Not only to spotify already. Have all of your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy. All of your favorite podcast originals. Like today in true crime for free from your phone. Desktop or smart speaker to stream today and true crime on spotify. Just open the APP and type today and true crime in the search bar at podcast grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and instagram at podcast and twitter at park last network? We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in True Crime. Today in true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original it is executive produced by Max Cutler. Sound design by Andy Weights with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden Aaron Larson and Joel Stein. This episode of today and true crime was written by Joel. Callan with writing assistance by Nora Battelle. I'm Vanessa Richardson High Listeners. If you haven't heard it already. I highly recommend you check out the new podcast original series supernatural with Ashley Flowers every Wednesday. Take a deep dive into the strange and surreal to find the truth behind some of the world's most bizarre true crime occurrences search for supernatural with Ashley Flowers in the spotify APP and listened free today.