TOKYO, Jan. 12–(Kyodo) – A faction of the religious cult formerly known as AUM Shinrikyo earned about 10 million yen in revenues from seminars held during the year-end and New Year holiday season, intelligence authority sources said Thursday.
About 90 followers took part in Dec. 29-Jan. 3 seminars in Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture and Osaka, which were sponsored by AUM “representative” Fumihiro Joyu for the first time in two and a half years, the sources said.
Another group led by Tatsuko Muraoka, who is ranked as the cult’s “chairwoman,” is believed to have collected about 30 million yen from around 260 followers who attended her seminars during the same period at different locations, the sources said.
The Muraoka group is considered to be more loyal than the Joyu group to AUM founder Shoko Asahara, whose lawyers are appealing against the death penalty handed down to him for a series of crimes including the 1995 fatal sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system.
The holding of separate seminars by the cult indicates that the rivalry between the Joyu and Muraoka groups has intensified, according to the sources.
AUM has renamed itself Aleph.