Public Security Intelligence Agency officials Thursday began inspecting 21 facilities run by Aleph, the group formerly known as Aum Shinrikyo, whose founder and senior cultists face the gallows for the cult’s 1995 sarin attack on Tokyo’s subway system.
They also inspected eight facilities of Aum splinter group Hikari no Wa (Circle of Rainbow Light), led by Aum’s ex-mouthpiece, Fumihiro Joyu.
The 29 facilities are spread across 15 prefectures — Hokkaido, Tokyo, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Nagano, Aichi, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokushima and Fukuoka.
The Public Security Intelligence Agency, an arm of the Justice Ministry in charge of collecting and analyzing information on threats to security and public safety, last inspected Aum-related facilities on a nationwide scale in August 2011.
The agency launched the fresh inspections after the police ended their 17-year investigation into the heinous crimes committed by Aum, including the subway attack that claimed the lives of 13 people and sickened thousands.
Earlier this year, the police arrested three Aum fugitives — Makoto Hirata, Naoko Kikuchi and Katsuya Takahashi.
The Public Security Examination Commission in January said the two Aum-derived groups will remain under surveillance for another three years from last Feb. 1.