Cult group of former AUM leader inspected by public safety agency

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(Kyodo) — Public safety officials on Thursday conducted their first inspection on the Tokyo headquarters of a cult group led by former AUM Shinrikyo leader Fumihiro Joyu and other relevant places after the group reported their inauguration earlier this week.

The inspection of “Hikari no Wa” (Circle of Light) by the Public Security Intelligence Agency is in line with a law, enforced in 1999, on the surveillance of organizations feared of posing a threat to society, according to the agency.

Joyu, 44, a former spokesman and leader of AUM, split from AUM, founded by Shoko Asahara, 52, on death row for a series of crimes including the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system that left 12 people dead.

The Joyu group comprises 57 live-in followers and 106 lay members, the agency says. Its headquarters are in Setagaya Ward.

The agency, a unit of the Justice Ministry, says the new group is also subject to surveillance under the Act Regarding the Control of Organizations Which Committed Indiscriminate Mass Murder. The new group has complied with the agency’s policy.

The agency also conducted inspections of around 10 locations related to AUM, renamed Aleph, to see the impact of the split. This was the fourth round of nationwide inspections of AUM facilities and the first since the one in September immediately after the death sentence of Asahara, 52, was confirmed.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 17, 2014