The ritual murder of an elderly sushi-shop owner by a gang of women has exposed the secrets of a bizarre Japanese cult, and shone a disturbing light on the nation’s weakness for extreme religions.
Senior member Yasuko Kubota has denied ordering the beating of Motoko Okuno.
Sushi restaurant owner Motoko Okuno, 63, died last month after a mass beating at the Kigenkai sect’s headquarters in Komoro city, Nagano prefecture (state), local police official Toshio Gomyo said.
It will bring the number of those arrested for fatally assaulting 63-year-old Motoko Okuno to 30, including two members of the victim’s family.
Okuno’s beating apparently stemmed from one of the cult’s regular “reflection gatherings,” where cultists started criticizing Michiko Mori and Yuji Ike over their lax lifestyle.
Kubota is a relative of the founder of the Shinto-linked religious organization, headquartered in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture.
Four related members of holy water cult Kigenkai who were arrested in connection with the fatal gang bashing of a sushi restaurant owner fear reprisals and may be covering up the involvement of other cultists in the elderly woman’s death, police said Tuesday.
The headquarters of an obscure Japanese cult, whose devotees toss dead sardines and fruit into local rivers as a purification ritual, was raided today after one of its followers was beaten to death.
Investigators suspect that Okuno was beaten by her 35-year-old husband, her 37-year-old daughter and several other members of the religious group.
Hundreds of police raided a mostly female sect in central Japan today on suspicion that a member was beaten to death for failing to carry out her religious rites.