Only a Few Clues Penetrate Mystery of Poisonous Gas

By Compiled From News Services | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 21, 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Only a Few Clues Penetrate Mystery of Poisonous Gas


Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Japanese police began a massive investigation Monday after a nerve gas attack on subway trains and stations in Tokyo killed seven people and injured almost 4,700. But any clear suspects or motives have yet to emerge.

"Why did they have to do this?" said Bunjiro Iwata, whose daughter Takako, 32, died in Monday's morning rush-hour horror. "Why did they have to kill my innocent daughter?"

Police and experts asked the same question about a seemingly pointless crime for which no one has claimed responsibility. Officials called it a deliberate, indiscriminate act of murder.

"I can't deplore this act strongly enough," said Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama after an emergency Cabinet meeting. He ordered an all-out effort to apprehend those responsible for the attack.

In Washington, the White House condemned the attack as "senseless" and said the United States was prepared to offer technical assistance to help Japan if needed.

Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department mobilized 300 detectives to investigate what one official called "a case virtually unparalleled in the history of crime in this country."

Overall, about 10,000 police officers were assigned to the investigation. Police patrolled subway platforms, looking for clues and making sure there were no other packages. All day Monday, police and military chemical warfare experts in gas masks and protective clothing also examined the five trains where sarin seeped from containers and packages wrapped in newspaper to look like lunch boxes.

But police appeared to have few clues to help them establish a motive for the attack. Some passengers reported seeing a man in a surgical mask. Others said they saw a man in sunglasses leaving lunchbox-size packets in train cars or on platforms.

After the morning rush-hour attack, passengers on trains and platforms all over central Tokyo fainted, vomited or went into convulsions as the fumes spread. Police said at least five unidentified suspects left various containers filled with sarin, a volatile liquid that easily becomes a gas at normal temperatures, on the trains.

A spokesman for the Teito Rapid Transit Authority, the subway's operators, said at least five trains on three lines were boarded simultaneously by suspects carrying the lethal gas, shortly after 8 a.m Monday (5 p.m. Sunday St. Louis time).

By late evening, seven people - five commuters and two subway officials - had died and 4,695 had been treated in 105 hospitals, police said. Many of the injured were released after treatment for minor doses of the poison. But police said that 76 people were listed in critical condition at hospitals and that 46 others were in serious condition, most of them with respiratory problems.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Only a Few Clues Penetrate Mystery of Poisonous Gas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?