Photo/IllutrationChizuo Matsumoto gives a news conference at a facility of his Aum Shinrikyo cult in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward in October 1990. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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A daughter of Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto plans to scatter his remains into the Pacific Ocean to prevent his devotees from creating a site of worship for the executed murderer, her lawyer said.

“The Pacific is so vast that his followers would not be able to turn it into a holy site,” the lawyer, Taro Takimoto, said at a news conference in Tokyo on July 11.

He also called on the government to provide financial support for the scattering of the cremains to deter terrorism, citing the possibility that cult loyalists could attempt to seize Matsumoto’s ashes as sacred relics.

Before he was executed on July 6, Matsumoto, 63, said he wanted the daughter, his fourth, to receive his body, despite the fact that she publicly severed all ties with the cult, its related groups and her family last year, according to the Justice Ministry.

However, Matsumoto’s widow and other children, including his second and third daughters, have demanded that they be given his remains.

Matsumoto, who was also known as Shoko Asahara, and six of his top lieutenants were hanged on July 6 for two sarin nerve gas attacks and other crimes that resulted in 27 deaths and thousands of injuries in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The Justice Ministry cremated his body in Tokyo on July 9 based on the consent of the fourth daughter. But the cremains were returned to the Tokyo Detention House, where Matsumoto had been incarcerated and executed.

The daughter asked ministry officials to keep the remains there for the time being because she feared for her life, according to the ministry.

Even before Matsumoto’s execution, public security authorities were concerned about where his remains would be laid to rest. Specifically, they feared his followers would deify him and turn the resting place into a “holy site.”

After Matsumoto’s arrest in 1995, his followers took over Aum Shinrikyo and renamed the cult Aleph in 2000. Aleph, along with two other Aum Shinrikyo-related groups, have a combined 1,650 followers across the nation.

During Matsumoto’s court appearances, he often babbled incoherently, refused to answer questions and exhibited other bizarre behavior. His lawyers said these actions reinforced their argument that Matsumoto was mentally unfit to stand trial.

In demanding his remains, the widow and the children said it would have been impossible for Matsumoto to name a specific recipient for his body, given his severe mental condition.

The fourth daughter, in a statement that appeared on Takimoto’s blog on July 9, said she would accept the remains because she believes that his naming of her was his “last message.”

She urged her family and his followers to “respect his intentions” expressed in the final stage of his life.

“I believe that in the end, he wanted to be laid to rest simply as an individual,” her statement said.