TOKYO (AP)–A Japanese court ordered a university to allow the daughter of a doomsday cult leader to enroll, rejecting the school’s argument that her presence would be disruptive, media reported Friday.
Bunkyo University in Tokyo initially admitted the youngest of the three daughters of Shoko Asahara, leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult responsible for unleashing sarin nerve gas in Tokyo’s subways in 1995, killing 12 people and sickening thousands. Asahara’s real name is Chizuo Matsumoto.
But the university reversed its decision after realizing who the woman’s father was, arguing that the presence of the 20-year-old, who was not identified, would disturb the school, the reports said.
“We cannot deny the possibility she may have a relationship with the cult. If we allow her to enroll, our students and neighbors will not be able to study and live their lives in peace,” the Tokyo university was quoted as saying by the Asahi newspaper.
The Tokyo District Court, however, ruled the school did not have a legitimate reason for withdrawing its acceptance offer and ordered the girl admitted to the university.
Last month, another Tokyo college, Wako University, said it retracted its admissions offer to an unnamed student identified by Japanese media as Asahara’s youngest daughter. Wako said it acted because of concern the “peaceful learning environment” on campus would be “disrupted.”
Asahara’s cult, which has reorganized and renounced its violent past, remains under tight police surveillance and has struggled to win acceptance from a suspicious public.
Its leaders have fought legal battles with several local governments that have refused to allow its members to register as residents.