[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Japan [court website] rejected a death penalty appeal Friday by former cult leader Shoko Asahara [BBC profile; JURIST report], who was convicted of masterminding the 1995 nerve gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system [MIPT report]. Asahara, the former head of Aum Shinrikyo [Wikipedia backgrounder], was convicted of murder and attempted murder in 2004 for releasing sarin nerve gas on rush-hour trains, killing 12 and sickening 5,500. Asahara was also found guilty of planning a nerve gas attack that killed 7 people in the city of Matsumoto.
Eleven other members of Aum Shinrikyo have been sentenced to death for the attacks [JURIST report], but none of the executions have been carried out. Japan does not publicly announce hangings in advance. Reuters has more.