US revokes terrorist designation for Japan's Aum Shinrikyo cult

NHK -- May 21
The US State Department has dropped its designation of Japan's Aum Shinrikyo cult as a Foreign Terrorist Organization or FTO.

The department announced the revocation on Friday, saying the group is "no longer engaged in terrorism or terrorist activity" and does not retain "the capability and intent to do so."

In 1995, Aum Shinrikyo staged a deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, killing 14 people and injuring around 6,300 others. Two years later, the US listed the group as an FTO in accordance with domestic law.

The State Department reviews FTO designations every five years.

In 2018, Aum's former leader Asahara Shoko and 12 others were executed for the subway attack as well as other heinous crimes.

In a statement, the State Department says the revocation does not seek to overlook or excuse the terrorist acts the group previously engaged in or the harm it caused to its victims. It says the latest decision recognizes the success Japan has had in defusing the threat of terrorism posed by the group.

The department will retain Aum Shinrikyo on its list of global terrorist entities under an executive order and its assets within the country will be kept frozen.