Foot cult planned sports club with burial lockers

The Honohana Sanpogyo cult, currently under investigation for fraud, had at one time entertained the idea of building a sports facility-cum-mausoleum and charging membership fees of about 2.5 million yen per head, it was learned Sunday.

The plan envisioned the construction of a complex in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward that would feature a locker-room-style burial chamber and double as a sports gym.

Authorities are viewing the plan as yet another scheme to bilk followers of the Shizuoka Prefecture-based sect formerly led by 55-year-old Hogen Fukunaga. They will investigate the plan in more detail this week, police sources said.

The structure was slated to go into the Space Energy Building, a four-story structure with two underground stories built on a roughly 1,280-sq.-meter plot in 1999. The complex is one of the buildings where the group met to hold its infamous foot-reading sessions and listen to talks by Fukunaga.

The sports facility and mausoleum were to be built in an area that is currently a hall on the bottom floor of the facility.

The plan reportedly came into existence around 1995. Honohana leaders endorsed the scheme, but later abandoned it after it was learned that it had not obtained permission from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as required under law, sources said.