Japan Cult Guru Daughter’s College Place Revoked

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TOKYO (Reuters) – A Tokyo university has revoked its acceptance of a 20-year-old woman after discovering she is the daughter of a former cult guru convicted of masterminding the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people.

Wako University said it had told the daughter of Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth Sect), that she could not attend the university, despite passing an entrance exam, because her presence could be disruptive.

“Because of who she is, she is likely to prompt uneasiness within and without the school,” the university’s president, Osamu Mihashi, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement did not name the woman, but newspapers described her as Asahara’s third daughter.

One paper also said she had been rejected by another university last year, also after passing an entrance test.

Mihashi said the decision had been difficult. “Even though it is not her fault, the possibility is high that the calm learning environment of the school would be disturbed,” he said.

The woman was initially admitted based on her results on a national entrance exam but the university decided to reconsider after documents she submitted revealed her to be Asahara’s daughter. A university official declined to comment further.

Asahara, 48, was sentenced last month to hang for masterminding the sarin gas attack that shattered Japan’s myth of public safety. He has appealed.

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Mar. 17, 2004

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This post was last updated: Nov. 17, 2014