The Use of Chemical Weapons in the Tokyo Subway Attack

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The Use of Chemical Weapons in the Tokyo Subway Attack Japan has long enjoyed the enviable reputation of being one of the safest nations in the world. The country has one of the world lowest rates for murder and other violent crime, and the Japanese National Police Agency and local Police forces are often praised as a model of law enforcement efficiency. Tokyo enjoys one of the cleanest, safest and most efficient subway networks in the world. Trains run on precise schedules and accommodate 2.7 billion passengers a year. All that changed on March 20, 1995. A nightmare unfolded as the city of Tokyo experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks of the century. This is what many considered to be the first true case of use of chemical agents by terrorists in a major attack on civilians. On the morning of 20 March 1995, small containers described by eyewitnesses as being wrapped in newspaper and covered with clear plastic bags about the size of lunch box were placed on five trains running on three major lines of the Tokyo subway system (Marunouchi, Chiyoda, and Hibiya). The trains were scheduled to arrive at the Kasumigaseki station within four minutes of each other at the height of the morning rush hour around 8 am in the morning. It was to report later that police authorities suspected the containers to be a type of binary chemical weapons in which the constituent elements of sarin were brought together to form the poisonous gas just prior to its release by breaking of the bottles in the crowed cars. The results were twelve people dead and over five thousand injured, as gas spread through the trains and affected passengers were disgorged at sixteenth separate stations along the route. Two of the subway lines were shut dow... ... middle of paper ... ...s required if the dispersal method is efficient. In this incident the dispersal was not efficient enough, which resulted in saving many lives. Unfortunately when terrorists get control of weapons, as they have no government or subjects to answer to allowing them to be as irresponsible as they like. For these reasons the supply of the raw materials must be more tightly controlled. Even though the raw materials can be kept in the same containers as other legitimate chemicals all that is required is a rigorous testing procedure. Bibliography: Reference: AFP- Agency France Press, “Japanese Sect Members Spent Lavishly in W. Australia: Report” (1995). JT -Japan Times, “Other Toxic Fume Cases” (1995). JTW -Japan Times Weekly International Edition, "Security System Getting a Hard Look: Murayama" (1995). DARSC- , published by the Aum Shinri Kyo sect on 1995.

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