Bunkyo may admit guru’s child

Ruling spurs university to reconsider Asahara’s daughter

A private university in Tokyo that rejected the enrollment of a daughter of Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara is now discussing ways in which it may accept her, it was learned Friday.

The move comes on the heels of the Tokyo District Court’s acknowledgment earlier this week that the 21-year-old woman has a right to study at the college.

Bunkyo University in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward had rejected the enrollment of the third daughter of Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, in late March. The guru has been sentenced to hang for the cult’s murderous spree of a decade ago.

Bunkyo made this decision even though she had passed the entrance exam to the college’s department of clinical psychology in February.

College spokesman Nobuharu Yashima said the school had reviewed the profiles of accepted applicants after learning that Wako University in western Tokyo rejected the enrollment of the woman on March 12.

After verifying the woman’s identity, the board of professors at Bunkyo University decided March 24 against allowing her to study at the school. They sent her a letter of cancellation, citing concerns among “other students, their parents, graduates, teachers and local residents.”

The woman sought an injunction at the Tokyo District Court on March 31, demanding that the court acknowledge her right to study at the college. The court acknowledged this right Wednesday.

In response to the ruling, Bunkyo University has reopened discussions on whether or how she may be accepted.

The board of professors at the college will make a final decision after the Golden Week holidays, but it will be difficult for the school to contravene the court injunction, Yashima said.

He added that the university had rejected her enrollment amid suspicion that the woman still has ties with Aum, which now calls itself Aleph.

It judged that her enrollment could upset not only other students but also local residents in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, where the department of psychology is located.

There was an Aum facility in Koshigaya until around 2002, which stirred up strong protests among local residents.

This is the third confirmed case since last year in which the woman has been rejected by a university after passing entrance exams.

She has passed “daiken” academic exams, which are required for those who did not finish high school and wish to take college entrance exams.

Of Asahara’s six children, his fourth daughter is currently enrolled at a public junior high school in a city in Ibaraki Prefecture.

His two sons attend a public elementary school in the same city.

The trio also faced strong opposition from residents until they were allowed to attend local schools in 2001.

Eizo Yamagiwa, head of the Society for Human Rights and Mass Media Conduct, a citizens’ group that has supported Asahara’s children, hailed the school’s moves toward accepting the woman, saying she has a strong desire to enter a Japanese college and live a normal life in Japanese society.

“It is so feudal that children of a criminal are made to pay a social fine for the parent’s crimes,” he said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Japan Times, Japan
May 1, 2004
Hiroshi Matsubara

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday May 1, 2004.
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