The Latest: Tokyo subway workers mark gas attack anniversary

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the anniversary of the 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Tokyo subway employees have marked the 23rd anniversary of a nerve gas attack that killed 13 people and sickened thousands at several stations.

Uniformed workers bowed their heads in silence Tuesday at Kasumigaseki station, one of those targeted by the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult.

The current station head and the 71-year-old widow of an assistant stationmaster who died in the attack placed flowers on a temporary altar set up for offerings.

Thirteen cult members have been sentenced to death for the March 20, 1995, attack and other crimes.

Kyodo News service quoted the widow Shizue Takahashi saying the trials went on for a long time, and she feels the process has entered the next stage.

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10:20 a.m.

Thirteen Japanese cult members may be sent to the gallows any day now for a 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system and other crimes. But when is uncertain. Such is the secrecy that surrounds Japan’s death penalty system.

Tuesday marks 23 years since members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult punctured plastic bags to release sarin nerve gas inside subway cars, sickening thousands and killing 13. Cult leader Shoko Asahara and a dozen followers have been sentenced to death for that and other crimes that killed 27 in all.

The relocation of seven of the convicts to detention centers outside of Tokyo last week has sparked speculation that executions could be imminent. Accomplices are customarily hanged on the same day.

The executions won’t be announced until after they occur.

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