Japanese School Denies Entry to Son of Religious Cult Founder

Tokyo, 2 March: A private junior high school in Saitama Prefecture has refused to enrol a son of Shoko Asahara, founder of the religious cult formerly known as AUM Shinrikyo, Asahara’s lawyers said Thursday.

Asahara’s second son, 11, passed an entrance exam for Kasukabe Kyoei Junior High School in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, in January and has already paid admission fees, the lawyers said.

But the boy was denied entry to the school in February after it found out his father is Asahara, 51, who has been sentenced to death for his role in 13 criminal cases including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, the lawyers said.

The school’s principal, Hideki Yaguchi, said, “We don’t have any in-house rules on entry denial, but we took the action as we could not show that the son is not under the cult’s influence.”

“As a school, we want to maintain an environment in which other students and their parents feel safe, and can concentrate on studying,” Yaguchi said.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in February 2004. He has appealed the ruling to the Tokyo High Court in which he is currently on trial.

In a similar move, Wako University in Machida, Tokyo, refused to enrol Asahara’s third daughter, 22, in March 2004 after she passed an entrance exam.

She filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, which last month ordered the university to pay her 300,000 yen in damages.

AUM Shinrikyo has renamed itself Aleph.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Mar. 2, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday March 3, 2006.
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