TOKYO, March 16 (Kyodo) — A private university in Tokyo said Monday it has rejected the enrollment of a 20-year-old prospective student whom it had previously accepted after it found out that she is the daughter of AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara.
Osamu Mihashi, president of Wako University, said that because of who the young woman is, her presence ”might deprive other students of the opportunity to study in a calm environment. It was an agonizing decision and I know there may also be criticism from society.”
Asahara, 49, was the mastermind behind a series of AUM-related crimes that shocked Japan, including the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 that killed 12 people and injured over 5,500.
The university said it had earlier notified the student she had been accepted based on her results at the national entrance exams for university admissions. But the school decided to reconsider the case after her status as Asahara’s daughter was revealed in enrollment documents she later submitted.
The school, a four-year liberal arts college in Machida, western Tokyo, said it sent a letter of rejection on Friday, which says, ”At this time, we came to the conclusion that we could not accept you to our school due to various circumstances. Please understand our position.”
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death Feb. 27 on charges including murder and attempted murder in 13 criminal cases that resulted in the death of 27 people. His defense team has appealed the ruling.
AUM renamed itself Aleph in January 2000.