Japan on Tuesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the AUM Shinrikyo cult's deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 people and injured over 6,000 others.
Subway workers observed a moment of silence at Kasumigaseki Station at 8 a.m., around the same time the terror attack occurred on March 20, 1995.
Toyohiko Otomo, the 57-year-old chief of the station, and Shizue Takahashi, 71, who lost her husband Kazumasa, an assistant stationmaster, were among those who offered flowers at the station.
"It's been a long time (since the incident). But I feel the same every year," said Takahashi.
"We will work together to make further efforts to ensure the safety of passengers so that they can feel safe using the service," Tokyo Metro Co. said in a statement.
The subway operator set up stands to allow people to offer flowers at Kasumigaseki, Kodenmacho, Tsukiji and three other stations where lives were lost in the attack.
Under instructions from the cult leader Shoko Asahara, 63, senior AUM members scattered the nerve agent in five train cars during the morning rush hour, causing mayhem at the stations.
Death sentences have been finalized for 13 members of the cult, including Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, over a series of AUM-related crimes.
Last week, the Justice Ministry transferred seven of the 13 on death row to detention facilities across Japan, likely bringing them a step closer to execution.
"The rulings of death penalties came after a long period of time was spent in trials. I think we've entered a new stage," Takahashi said. "I hope they will be executed according to law and without making a fuss about it."
Sakae Ito, 63, who was affected by the gas attack while commuting and still has problems with his eyes, said, "The victims' pains won't be healed even if they are executed."
Another survivor, Ikuno Morise, 45, echoed the view, saying, "The case will never settle. I don't want (people) to forget" about the incident.