Village eyes preserving Aum files

The municipal government of Kamikuisshikimura, Yamanashi Prefecture, where Aum Supreme Truth prepared for the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, is considering making public various documents showing its fight against the cult.

Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the day police forces raided the cult’s facilities in the village, located northwest of Mt. Fuji.

Some officials of the local government hope to reorganize the documents that record a series of moves against the cult and make them available for those who wish to see them.

The village itself will cease to exist in a year when it will be divided into two parts and merged with other cities and towns.

The officials are hoping to take measures to prevent the documents from being dispersed or lost after the mergers to prevent memories of the fight against the cult from fading.

The municipal government has maintained a large amount of records collected between 1989 and 1998.

These records include moving-in notifications of Aum members, documents regarding the demolition of facilities and records of public nuisances the cult was responsible for, such as causing foul smells and discharging wastewater in the area.

The various documents in eight cardboard boxes also include records of deliberations conducted by the municipal government’s task force that dealt with the problems caused by the cult.

Among them are pictures and notes taken during talks in January 1992 between the mayor of the village at that time and Aum founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 50, more commonly known as Shoko Asahara.

These documents are currently kept in the municipal government’s archives.

The village will be divided into north and south sections in March next year, and the northern part, where the municipal government building is located, will be merged with Kofu and Nakamichimachi in the prefecture, while the southern part of the village, where Aum’s facilities used to be located, will be merged with Fuji-Kawaguchikomachi in the prefecture.

The village’s ordinary administrative documents are expected to be stored in the village’s government building.

However, there have been numerous calls suggesting that the documents related to Aum should be placed in the custody of the southern part of the village.

The village hopes to suggest the idea of providing the general public with access to the documents in a discussion with Fuji-Kawaguchikomachi after April.

“It’s the village’s responsibility to pass down the history of the fight against Aum to future generations,” said Yoshiki Shimura, the municipality’s receiver general who had been dealing with the cult.

The group started establishing a group of buildings called “satian” in the Fujigamine district in the village in 1989.

Some members of the cult attacked the Tokyo subway system on March 20, 1995 with sarin nerve gas produced at the seventh satian in the village.

Two days later, the Metropolitan Police Department raided the cult’s buildings with about 1,000 police officers.


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The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan
Mar. 23, 2005
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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 23, 2005.
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