Tokyo, 22 April: The Justice Ministry’s Public Security Investigation Agency inspected 39 AUM Shinrikyo-related facilities in 2004 and later shared pertinent data with 49 municipal governments, a government report said Friday [22 April]. The report approved by the cabinet said the agency carried out the inspections under the so-called AUM surveillance law, which allows the agency to monitor any organization that has committed “indiscriminate mass murder in the past”.
Some members of the cult have been found guilty for their involvement in the March 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000. The law requires the agency to submit an annual report to the Diet via the cabinet detailing the latest activities of the cult which renamed itself Aleph in 2000.
Justice Minister Chieko Nono told the cabinet that the government must continue to keep tabs on the cult which she says “still maintains a dangerous dogma and has not changed its reclusive nature”. She also said AUM is still trying to boost its membership.
At the end of last year, the report said, AUM had about 650 live- in followers and about 1,000 other followers, and maintained 26 facilities in 17 prefectures. The cult also has about 300 followers in Russia where it maintains several facilities, the report said.