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Fumihiro Joyu reports intention to leave AUM Shinrikyo cult

Kyodo News Service, Japan
Mar. 5, 2007 • Monday March 5, 2007

Tokyo, March 5 — Kyodo — Fumihiro Joyu, the current leader of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, reported to the Public Security Intelligence Agency on Monday that he and his followers intend to leave the cult and set up a new organization.

AUM, which renamed itself Aleph in 2000, has been divided between Joyu’s group which is critical of cult founder Shoko Asahara and another group supportive of him.

Asahara, 52, is on death row for the 1995 sarin gas attack that left 12 people dead and other crimes. The two factions have been using different facilities and financial resources since the spring of last year.

Joyu, 44, said the agency’s surveillance is necessary to eliminate residents’ concerns, and added his departure is not aimed at evading it and that he will cooperate with investigations.

The cult has been under surveillance since 2000 after crimes committed by Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and other cult members were brought to light.

Joyu is expected to establish a new organization with about 60 live-in and 200 lay members after leaving the cult this month, but the name of the new organization or when it will be established remain undecided, according to members supporting Joyu.

The cult currently has some 400 live-in and 690 lay members.

With Joyu leaving, Naruhito Noda, 40, will become the new leader of Aleph.

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