Japanese security agency inspects AUM cult splinter group’s facilities

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The Public Security Intelligence Agency in Japan on Friday inspected several properties of Hikari no Wa — a splinter group of the notorious Aum Shinrikyo cult.

Kyodo says some 70 officials from the agency inspected the group’s biggest facility in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward and locations in Miyagi, Chiba, Kanagawa, Nagano, Aichi, Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures.

The group, whose name translates to ‘Circle of Rainbow Light,’ was formed in March 2007 by Fumihiro Joyu, Aum Shinrikyo’s former spokesman. At the time, Joyo claimed he wanted to distance himself from Shoko Asahara, the group’s guru.

The Public Security Intelligence Agency, under the authority of Japan’s Justice Ministry, believes the splinter group is still integral to the cult.

Shortly after the group split of from Aum Shinrikyo the agency found portraits of Asahara at several of its facilities during searches. One official said that indicated the new group was “still under Asahara’s influence.”

Asahara is on death row for a series of crimes committed by members of Aum Shinrikyo, including the March 20, 1995 Sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The Public Security Examination Commission recently renewed the security agency’s mandate to keep tabs on the cult.

The fourth extension of the surveillance covers Aleph, as Aum Shinrikyo renamed itself in January 2000, as well as Hikari no Wa.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 17, 2014