Police probe man’s death at Japanese cult laboratory

Kyodo (Japan), Aug. 8, 2003

Fukui, 8 August: Police started investigating the death of a man Thursday [7 August] at a Pana Wave Laboratory facility in Fukui as a possible criminal case after they found bruise-like marks on the body, police sources said Friday.

The police believe the man is Satoshi Chigusa, 40, an assistant professor at the Fukuoka University of Education in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture. The state-run university said it has heard Chigusa died of heat-stroke while travelling in Fukui Prefecture.

Pana Wave caught public attention earlier this year because of its belief that its members will be protected from electromagnetic waves if they dress in all white and place white cloth around them.

A local fire-fighting authority received an emergency call around 2.35 p.m. [local time] Thursday to treat a person with heat-stroke. The man had reportedly frequented the facility and was pronounced dead at the hospital to which he was taken.

The police plan to perform an autopsy while questioning members of the Pana Wave group on the situation.

After travelling from one community to another around central Japan in a caravan of white vehicles, Pana Wave members returned to their group headquarters in Fukui in May.

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