Photo/IllutrationThree high-ranking Aum Shinrikyo members were executed July 26 at Tokyo Detention House. (Shigetaka Kodama)

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The last six Aum Shinrikyo members under sentence of death were executed July 26, bringing the number of cultists hanged in Japan this month to 13.

The executions came less than three weeks after those of cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara, and six of his disciples.

The latest round gives Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa the dubious distinction of having authorized the most executions of any minister.

She told a news conference July 26 that careful consideration had been given to the six cases before issuing the order to put the men to death.

The six were involved in a range of crimes that involved multiple murders.

"While they may have taken part in different crimes, the six were active as high-ranking officials of Aum Shinrikyo," Kamikawa said.

Kazuaki Okazaki, 57, who adopted the name of Kazuaki Miyamae, and Masato Yokoyama, 54, were executed at Nagoya Detention House, while Yasuo Hayashi, 60, who changed his name to Yasuo Koike, was hanged at Sendai Detention House.

Satoru Hashimoto, 51, Toru Toyoda, 50, and Kenichi Hirose, 54, were executed at Tokyo Detention House.

According to the finalized verdicts against the six, Okazaki and Hashimoto were involved in the murder of anti-Aum lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989. The bodies of the three were buried separately in mountainous areas of Toyama, Niigata and Nagano prefectures.

Hashimoto also acted as a lookout during a June 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, that killed eight people. Hayashi was involved in manufacturing the vehicle used to spray the sarin gas.

Yokoyama, Hayashi, Toyoda and Hirose punctured bags of liquid sarin nerve gas placed on five morning rush-hour subway trains in downtown Tokyo on March 20, 1995, that left 13 dead and thousands sickened.

All six admitted in their respective trials to the crimes they were charged with. They were all handed the death sentence at district court level, decisions that were upheld by high courts and the Supreme Court.

Okazaki was the first Aum member to have his death sentence finalized in 2005. The other five had their death sentences finalized by 2009.

Under the Criminal Procedure Law, capital punishment should be carried out within six months after the death sentence is finalized.

However, the sentence is normally not carried out as long as the trials of co-conspirators are continuing.

The sentence of the last Aum high-ranking member was not finalized until this past January.

Katsuya Takahashi, 60, had been a fugitive for 17 years before his arrest in 2012. He was given a life sentence for his role in the subway attack.

With all criminal trials involving high-ranking Aum members having concluded, the Justice Ministry in March moved seven of the death-row inmates from Tokyo Detention House to other detention houses around Japan, a sign that preparations were being made to carry out the executions. The first round of hangings was on July 6.

Including her first stint as justice minister between October 2014 and October 2015, Kamikawa has authorized 16 executions.

(This article was written by Naoki Urano and Takuya Kitazawa.)