AUM Shinrikyo sets up more than 10 business entities

TOKYO, April 16 (Kyodo) — AUM Shinrikyo has set up more than 10 business entities across Japan purportedly to help victims of its past crimes but the intention is really to increase its revenues, the Justice Ministry’s Public Security Investigation Agency said in a report released Friday.

The report, endorsed at a cabinet meeting Friday morning, said the entities, some of them computer software companies, are run by live-in followers of the group, which renamed itself Aleph in January 2000.

Some AUM followers have also taken up jobs at regular companies and have been contributing part of their salaries to the group, it said.

The group has said any profits made are intended to provide funds for compensating victims of crimes, including the March 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000.

AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara, 49, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death Feb. 27.

AUM has been under surveillance by the security agency under a 1999 law aimed at monitoring and cracking down on groups that have committed indiscriminate murder.

The latest report is the fifth since the legislation stipulated that annual reports be submitted to the Diet through the cabinet.

Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa prepared a statement in which he told the cabinet that AUM followers still have absolute faith in Asahara.

”The followers have strengthened their seclusion from society and have not changed their self-deceiving nature,” he said.

The report said that the security agency carried out a total of 21 inspections on AUM facilities last year and that the group had some 650 live-in followers, about 1,000 other followers in Japan, and about 300 followers in Russia as of the end of last year.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Apr. 16, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday April 16, 2004.
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