# Aum Shinrikyo's research activities on anthrax:
the anthrax bacteria spread in 1993 was a harmless strain
October 10, 2001
Today's Yomiuri carried a story
that "the anthrax bacteria that was spread in the Aum Supreme Truth cult's
general headquarters in Koto Ward, Tokyo, in July 1993 for unknown reasons
was a harmless strain imported from the United States and designed to be
used as vaccine for cattle, a Northern Arizona University research group
Up until today, it is widely believed that although the bacteria was harmful,
because it was treated under too high pressure, the plot ended in vain.
This is what Aum Shinrikyo's former high-profile members like Mr. Hirose
said in their trials ---- they were all involved neither in obtaining nor
in culturing the bacteria. The result of the internal investigation done
by Aleph indicates, however, that the bacteria was harmless from the beginning
and also that the former Aum Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara knew it.The
fact that Aleph's internal investigation and the research carried out by
Northern Arizona University show the same result substantiates the rightness
of Aleph's view that Aum Shinrikyo did not culture or spread harmful anthrax
bacteria. This fact has already been in public.
Reflecting on what its predecessor did in the past, Aleph would like to
add that it has no intention at all to plan or produce any chemical or biological
weapons. Aleph believes that any terrorism by any group, any organization,
or any state, including the terrorist attacks of September 11th, cannot
solve any problem. .
AUM used anthrax from U.S. in
DATE : 2001/10/11 MEDIA : The Daily Yomiuri PAGE : 2 WORD COUNT
Aum used anthrax from U.S. in 1993 WASHINGTON--The anthrax bacteria
that was spread in the Aum Supreme Truth cult's general headquarters
in Koto Ward, Tokyo, in July 1993 for unknown reasons was a harmless
strain imported from the United States and designed to be used as
vaccine for cattle, a Northern Arizona University research group
Although no one contracted the disease in the Aum case, the research
group members said there was a possibility the bacteria could have
been turned into a biological weapon. Prof. Paul Keim of the university,
along with Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, obtained
a sample of the anthrax bacteria after it had been used by the cult.
After analyzing its DNA, the research group concluded the bacteria
was not cultivated by Aum, but was imported from the United States
as a vaccine.
Keim said cult members may have dispersed the nonpoisonous bacteria
either because they were ignorant of its effects or because they
were rehearsing for a terrorist attack using biological weapons.
The research group revealed the cult's usage of anthrax as concerns
over such attacks have been mounting in the United States since
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Cult members cultivated anthrax
According to the public prosecutor's concluding speech during an Aum
Supreme Truth trial, followers of the cult in 1993 spread the anthrax
germ in Tokyo after cultivating it in their buildings.
Chizuo Matsumoto, 46, the Aum founder who is also known as Shoko Asahara,
reportedly gave the order.
It had been learned from Aum's former senior members that the bacteria
was obtained through one of the cult's followers, but this is the
first time light was shed on the bacteria's origin.