Police Raid Offices of Japanese Cult

Tokyo, Apr. 18 — (Kyodo) — The Justice Ministry’s Public Security Intelligence Agency raided 11 Aum Shinrikyo cult facilities across Japan on Tuesday in compliance with a law to place dangerous groups under government surveillance.

The raids, involving about 160 agency officers, are believed to have been conducted to prevent the Aum members from taking action when the death sentence on cult founder Shoko Asahara, 51, is expected to be finalized.

On 27 March, the Tokyo High Court dismissed Asahara’s appeal against a district court ruling to sentence him to death for 13 crimes, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Tuesday’s large-scale raids were the first on AUM facilities since the agency made on-the-spot inspections of them in February 2004, shortly before the Tokyo District Court sentenced Asahara to death.

Asahara’s real name is Chizuo Matsumoto.

Tuesday’s raids took place in places including Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, where Aum is based, Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokushima and Fukuoka.

Aum renamed itself Aleph in 2000.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Kyodo News Service, Japan
Apr. 18,2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 18, 2006.
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