Inside Japan’s death row prisons where seven cultists were hanged

Inside Japan’s death row prisons where seven cultists were hanged

Seven members of a Japanese murderous doomsday cult were hanged suddenly last week after more than 20 years on death row.

The group, some of whom met their end in a sterile facility called the Detention House, were sentenced to death for carrying out a deadly gas attack in 1995.

Alongside the US, Japan is one of the few first world countries that still has the death penalty, reports The Sun.

But unlike America Japanese inmates are not afforded the luxury of knowing when they will die. Their end could come at any time.

Often, inmates are told of their fate the morning of the execution, sometimes even just an hour before.

Death drop: The wood-paneled room above, with the blue curtains, is where the condemned prisoner is taken. A rope is tied around their neck and then they are dropped into the grey-tiled clinical room below

The Asian nation does not normally kill more than 10 people each year. From 1977 to 2007 Japan never executed more than nine people in any 12 month period. 

But last week it executed seven at various facilities across the nation. This included the leader and six members of Aum Shinrikyo, a cult that released deadly sarin gas into the Tokyo subway killing 13.

Leader Shoko Asahara, 63, founded Aum Shinrikyo cult in 1984, and his mix of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity and social disillusionment attracted thousands of followers.

They ran sham computer and health-food businesses and collected donations to amass wealth to buy land and equipment. 

They built an arsenal of chemical, biological and conventional weapons to carry out his vision of overthrowing the government to save the world from a doomsday he said was coming, which ended in the deadly 1994 attack.

During his eight years on trial, Asahara rarely spoke and never acknowledged responsibility or apologized. 

Asahara died by hanging, where the neck is broken by a rope as the body falls through a trap door.

Viewing gallery: This is the room where the prisoner is hanged. The large glass window in the background is where witnesses can see the execution being carried out. The round metal rings on the wall and floor, right, are to hold the prisoner in place

Execution chamber: The buttons on the left are pressed by the guards at the moment of execution however only one of them actually opens the red-lined trap door seen in the room right. This is so the guards do not know who actually killed the prisoner. Only the blue curtain separates them from the condemned

A ceiling mounted pulley is used for the hanging rope

Final plea: The room where inmates can meet with a priest before they

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