TOKYO, Jan. 20–(Kyodo)– The Tokyo District Court on Friday sentenced a former key member of AUM Shinrikyo to 30 months in prison and a fine of 2 million yen for unlicensed sales of skin ointment in 2003 and 2004.
“It was not fraud. I did not know that it was a pharmaceutical product which requires a license,” Inoue said during the trial.
Presiding Judge Hiroshi Narikawa said Inoue knew his act of selling the medicine as a treatment for atopic dermatitis was illegal. He also advertised the medicine as not containing steroids though he “suspected steroid was included,” the judge said.
The prosecutors had sought six years in prison and a fine of 2 million yen for Inoue.
The prosecution charged Inoue with conspiring with former leading AUM Shinrikyo member Naruhito Noda and others to sell medicine imported from China as atopic ointment to some 900 people, with the sales amounting to 23 million yen.
The judge said Inoue’s responsibility was “particularly heavy among the accomplices” and that the “organized and planned crime” exploited people suffering from atopic dermatitis.
According to the prosecution, Inoue’s gains from selling some of the medicine by falsely advertising it as not including steroids amounted to 4.15 million yen.
Noda was found guilty in the same court in December of illegally selling the ointment and sentenced to a suspended term of 18 months in prison. He did not appeal.
AUM renamed itself Aleph in January 2000.