Japan warning on doomsday cult

BBC, Apr. 11, 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/

Japan’s justice minister has warned that the cult which carried out the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo underground still poses a public threat.

Mayumi Moriyama told a cabinet meeting that “there is still the danger that the group may engage in acts of indiscriminate mass murder” and called for “continued vigilance” of Aum Shinrikyo.

Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line tickets

Ms Moriyama was speaking after the release of an annual report on the group, as part of legislation aimed at monitoring the cult.

Several members of Aum Shinrikyo have so far been sentenced for their roles in the cult’s crimes. The founder of the group, Shoko Asahara, is still on trial.

The latest report on the group, compiled by the Justice Ministry’s Public Security Investigation Agency, said that Aum had about 650 live-in followers and some 1,000 outside believers, as of the end of last December.

Aum went bankrupt in 1996, after the arrest of its top leaders. It has since changed its name to Aleph and claims to have renounced violence under its new leader, Fumihiro Joyu.

But Ms Morayama told a news conference that under Mr Joyu’s leadership, the group continues to worship Asahara’s “dangerous” teachings.

The group maintains 28 offices and 120 apartments in 17 prefectures throughout Japan and has 300 members in Russia, the report on Aum said.

The cult uses different names to offer yoga lessons and computer classes in order to finance its activities and recruit new members, the report added.

On Thursday, the Tokyo District Court held the last questioning session for Asahara, as his trial, in its seventh year, neared its final stage.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was reported to have remained silent during the hearing. Prosecutors are scheduled to close their case 24 April, and are expected to seek the death penalty.

The 1995 sarin gas attack killed 12 people and left thousands ill.

Travel Religiously

Book skip-the-line tickets to the worlds major religious sites — or to any other place in the world.

We appreciate your support

One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.

AFFILIATE LINKS

Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.

Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)

More About This Subject

Religion News Blog last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)