CHIBA, Japan, Jan. 19–(Kyodo) — Chiba police raided facilities connected to the Setsuri cult in the city of Chiba on Thursday evening on suspicion that a senior member, a South Korean woman, has illegally obtained her resident status in Japan for missionary work, investigative sources said.
The 44-year-old woman is suspected of having violated the immigration law.
It is believed that Setsuri, or Providence, was established in South Korea around 1980 and became active in Japan around 1987.
There are reportedly more than 2,000 followers of the cult in Japan.
Its founder Jung Myung Seok, 61, allegedly assaulted several female members sexually. He is now on the international wanted list.
The senior member is believed to be a close aide of the founder and to have sent female members to him who he sexually abused, informed sources said.
She arrived in Japan in 1988 and was enrolled at Chiba University, where she solicited students to join the cult.
But she left Japan for South Korea last July, shortly before a lawyer advocating for the victims filed a complaint with the police against her on suspicion of an immigration law violation and other charges.
According to investigations, the woman applied for a Japanese visa in March 2000 allegedly posing as a technical immigrant. She then allegedly went on to solicit people to join the cult around Chiba City, an activity not allowed under her visa category.
A complaint was also filed against a pair, including a person who was then president of the now-dissolved printing company in Yokohama, for allegedly helping forge documents to hire the woman for the company’s planning work.
The police suspect the woman has been turning over her pay straight to the president, and they are gathering evidence to support the evidence of the alleged fake employment.
The police also searched a facility in the city’s Chuo Ward, which was used by Jung when he came to Japan. The police believe Jung used a room inside the facility to sexually assault female followers.