Tokyo, Oct. 10 Kyodo — Bankruptcy proceedings for AUM Shinrikyo will conclude in March 2008, 12 years after the cult was declared insolvent in 1996, and the bankruptcy administrator will seek ways to compensate victims of crimes involving AUM.
At the 15th meeting of victims’ representatives and other creditors held at the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday, bankruptcy administrator Saburo Abe proposed closing the procedures on March 31, 2008.
Abe and the victims plan to urge the government and parliamentarians to establish a special law under which the state will shoulder compensation payments on behalf of AUM, which has renamed itself Aleph, and collect debts from the group.
Presiding Judge Kenji Nishi decided to hold the final creditors’ meeting on March 26, 2008.
“We doubt that we can collect the debts from the group simply through the bankruptcy procedures and the pain felt by the victims has already reached its limit,” Abe said.
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Taking a break?
“I am confident that our proposal was approved by the court and we will continue supporting the victims until they are provided with redress,” he added.
In Wednesday’s meeting, Abe presented conditions for the closure of the proceedings, under which a fund to support victims of AUM crimes, set up in June 2006, will take over the claimable assets from the cult and the victims will receive another round of payments before mid-March next year.
According to Abe, AUM is roughly 5.1 billion yen in debt, of which about 3.8 billion yen should be paid to the victims as compensation.
However, they have so far received only 34 per cent of that amount, or 1.3 billion yen, in total for the past three rounds of payments. Even including the next payment, the percentage is expected to remain at around 37-38 per cent.
On Wednesday afternoon, Abe and the victims will hold another meeting in which they plan to urge lawmakers from the ruling and opposition blocs to implement support measures for the victims.
AUM was founded by Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto. Twelve people died in the group’s 1995 sarin gas attacks in Tokyo’s subway system. Another gassing in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994, killed seven people.