Panawave produces paranoia

Mainichi Daily News (Japan), May 4, 2003

KOFU — Residents of the tranquil Yamanashi Prefecture village of Oizumi are up in arms that a kooky cult appears pent upon setting up base here.

A taskforce set up by the Oizumi Municipal Government and local residents have asked members of the Panawave Laboratory group, famous for being garbed entirely in white, not to set up a base in the village.

Panawave members have begun erecting huge domes in Oizumi, as well as covered large areas of the roads and roadsides leading into the village with white coverings.

Panawave members claim the domes are resistant to natural disasters. Cult members believe the human race will be destroyed on May 15 because of a change in the Earth’s axis. Oizumi is believed to be the place they have decided to set up a base.

Oizumi residents simply want to get rid of the cultists, who they deride as kooks. However, there is not much they can do.

“At the moment, they aren’t doing anything illegal,” Oizumi Deputy Mayor Akira Kobayashi said. “It’s almost impossible to get rid of them.”

Officials from the Yamanashi Prefectural Government, Oizumi and local police have joined forces to ask group members not to set up a base in the village. They have also come up with ways of ousting the group if it does set up a base. Local officials are considering drawing up an ordinance outlining behavior that constitutes a public nuisance so it regulate the behavior of Panawave members.

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