A Japanese religious cult that carried out a deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways in 1995 also experimented with the VX nerve agent suspected in the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother in Malaysia.
Months before killing about a dozen commuters and severely injuring dozens a lot more in Tokyo with sarin, a further kind of nerve gas, in March 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo cult attempted VX on at least three victims, killing one whom cult members believed was a police informant.
In their trial, cult members stated they practiced using syringes to spray the deadly chemical on people's necks as they pretended to be out jogging. The suspected police informant spent 10 days in a coma before dying.
One particular of the folks attacked with VX by the cult, Hiroyuki Nagaoka, told Japanese public broadcaster NHK on Friday that news of Kim Jong Nam's murder reminded him of his personal expertise.
He was walking on the sidewalk in his neighborhood in Tokyo in January 1995 when a member of the cult sprayed the nerve agent on the back of his neck. Most of it was blocked by his jacket collar.
"I had no thought what occurred at that time," he mentioned. He was attacked because he was a vocal opponent of the cult.
He finished walking house but about half an hour later realized all the things seemed to be oddly dark — an effect of the toxin causing his pupils to shrink. He began feeling hot inside and, sweating profusely, took off his clothes.
His wife later told him that he got down on all fours like an animal, twisting and scratching his neck and chest, before rolling onto his back in pain and losing consciousness.
"I was saved by the collar of the jacket I was wearing," he told NHK just after officials in Malaysia stated they suspected VX in the Kuala Lumpur killing.
According to court documents, two educated chemists who had joined the cult created VX in a customized lab in the summer time of 1994. They initially wanted to create 1 kilogram (2.two pounds) but succeeded in making only about 70 grams (2.5 ounces).
They had an antidote but it is not clear from the court documents if any of the cultists got sick from VX exposure.
Extra than 20 years following the attack, Nagaoka nonetheless has numbness on the suitable side of his physique and makes use of an oxygen tube inserted in his nostrils to help his breathing.
Nagaoka said when he saw Kim Jong Nam in an airport surveillance video walking unassisted for a even though but steadily seeming to slow down, he thought it ought to be VX.
He also stated Kim may possibly have been sweating heavily like he did, citing wet spots on Kim's shirt when he was shown slumped in a chair.
Linked Press writer Eric Talmadge contributed to this report.
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