Aum Shinrikyo victim hired by cult spinoff

Yoshiyuki Kono, who lost his wife because of the 1994 Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, has been hired by a spinoff of the cult to inspect its activities.

Japanese news agency Kyodo says

Led by past Aum mouthpiece Fumihiro Joyu, Hikari no Wa (Circle of Rainbow Light) offered the job to the 61-year-old Kono, who will conduct surveys and hold meetings with its members.

Kono’s wife spent years in a coma and eventually died after inhaling the deadly gas during Aum’s attack on Matsumoto. Kono, who first alerted police to the attack, which killed eight people, was initially subject to intense police and media suspicion. No arrests were made in the crime until after Aum’s 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Four others, including a Shinto priest and an academic, have also been recruited as inspectors.

In an earlier report Kyodo wrote

“I want to look with my own eyes at what it is actually doing by going in there on my own,” Kono said. “I wish to serve as a bridge for residents around (the group’s facilities) who are concerned” about their presence. […]

On Monday, the Public Security Intelligence Agency sought to keep the splinter group as well as the main cult, which renamed itself Aleph in 2000, under state surveillance for three more years, asserting they remain under the strong influence of cult founder Shoko Asahara.

Joyu’s group has argued it does not need such surveillance, saying it will establish a panel of inspectors as a more effective way to monitor its activities.

Yoshiyuki Kono: We have no right to banish ex-Aum followers (2003)
Research resources on Aum Shinrikyo

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