Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 542–544 | Cite as

Murders with VX: Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam in Malaysia

  • Tomomasa Nakagawa
  • Anthony T. Tu
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

VX is one of the most toxic nerve gases and is stockpiled as a chemical weapon by many countries [1, 2]. VX was first discovered in Porton Down, UK’s Biological and Chemical Weapons laboratory, in 1952. The US Army continued the development and made it into to a nerve gas agent. Its scientific name is O-ethyl S-2-(N,N-diisopropylamino)ethyl methylphosphonothiolate [3, 4, 5].

In this report, the murder with VX, the Japan case, is described first, and then the second case, which occurred in Malaysia, is described. Cases of murder with VX are rather rare, but one should never ignore the possibility of using such a special agent for terrorist action in the future. Documentation of incidents in two countries will be useful for understanding the toxic nature of VX against humans.

The first person killed by VX was Mr. Tadahito Hamaguchi in Osaka on Dec. 12, 1994, by the cult Aum Shinrikyo. At that time nobody knew how he died. Only after March 1995, when Aum Shinrikyo’s criminals...


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hiroshima Detention CenterHiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular, BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.San MateoUSA

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