Bizarre cult refuses order to leave roadside squat
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday April 30, 2003
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Apr. 30, 2003
Mayors of both Hachiman and Yamato towns in Gifu Prefecture visited the 200-meter stretch of the road in the mountainous area to tell the cult to leave.
Keiichi Hasegawa, a leading member of the Panawave Laboratory, said they were staying there because “there was a seriously ill person” among them.
Hasegawa showed a medical certificate to the mayors, but the names of the patient and the doctor were inked out so the visiting officials could not see the identity of the sick member.
Cult members told the mayors that they would leave the area on Saturday. “I have no choice but to have them keep the promise (to leave on Saturday),” said Kunio Komori, head of the Hachiman Municipal Government.
The municipalities’ request that the cult vacate the area was only “administrative guidance” and is not legally binding.
“Even if they stay here after Saturday, I think we have no legal power except an administrative recommendation,” Komori added. “I plan to talk with police to force them to leave.”
Before meeting with the town heads, Hasegawa visited the city halls of both local governments to apologize for causing trouble and claimed that his cult was just researching electromagnetic waves.
“We are studying electromagnetic waves for the sake of the public,” Hasegawa was quoted as telling local officials. “Although we have been doing research for 10 years, we faced trouble for the first time coming here. I am sorry for occupying the area without telling you previously.”
Police are watching the cult around the clock.
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