Tokyo Subway Attack

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Chemicals were first utilized extensively as a weapon during the First World War. Mustard gas and chlorine were the most common. Being disseminated erratically across the battlefield often times these agents would indiscriminately inflict casualties on both sides. As a weapon of terror chemical weapons have been rather obscure. Despite many recent uses by totalitarian regimes in the past 30 years, because of the extensive costs in manufacturing, chemical agents are rarely used by radical groups or terrorists. This was not the case on March 20, 1995. The Tokyo subway system was attacked by the cultist group Aum Shinrikyo with the use of the nerve agent sarin. The attack had far reaching consequences initially killing 12 and injuring up to 5,500 people (Pletcher 1). There are many resources concerning the nerve agent sarin; however, it is generally understood to be “500 times more toxic than cyanide gas” (Kristof 3). Sarin having a higher boiling temperature (According to Wikipedia approximately 158 degrees Celsius) than ambient air temperature allowed the Sarin to remain in a liquid state and reduce vaporization. On the day of the attacks, five members of the cult boarded separate trains with bags of sarin (Pletcher 2). When sarin was disseminated onboard the subway, passengers were exposed to the toxic gases and left with various symptoms and injuries related to the exposure of nerve agents. Passengers would disembark from trains feeling only the onset of symptoms as more travelers boarded the train and exposed themselves, this repeated process increased the contamination area and those contaminated. This is the primary reason why so many were exposed to the chemical agent. After the initial attacks there was misidentification ... ... middle of paper ... "Tokyo subway attack of 1995 (terrorist attack, Japan)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 July 2012. Web. 6 May 2014. . "Sarin." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 5 July 2014. Web. 6 May 2014. . Seto, Yasuo. "The Sarin Gas Attack in Japan and the Related Forensic Investigation." The Sarin Gas Attack in Japan and the Related Forensic Investigation. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, n.d. Web. 5 May 2014. . "The Tokyo subway sarin attack--lessons learned.." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 5 May 2014. .
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