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Surveillance of Aum successor cults extended three more years

Kyodo, JIJI

The Public Security Examination Commission says that two spinoffs of Aum Shinrikyo, the doomsday cult that carried out the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, will remain under surveillance for three more years starting Feb. 1.

The three-year extension is the fifth since surveillance began in January 2000 and will apply to Aleph, as the cult was renamed, and Hikarinowa, or Circle of Rainbow Light, the commission said Friday.

The domestic security force, the Public Security Intelligence Agency, says the two cults together have 32 facilities around the country.

The security examination commission is an external organ of the Justice Ministry that employs a panel of seven experts to decide how organized groups should be treated under the law.

The commission pointed out that Aleph explicitly continues to demand absolute submission to the incarcerated Aum guru Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and that Hikarinowa, headed by former Aum spokesman Fumihiro Joyu, has an organizational structure and training system nearly identical to Aum.

According to the Public Security Intelligence Agency, the two cults have grown in both assets and members since the surveillance order was last extended in 2012. Together, the two now have about 1,650 members here and about 160 in Russia, and own 32 facilities spread across 15 prefectures in Japan.

Cash and deposits accounted for some ¥690 million of the two groups’ combined assets as of last October.

Seiichi Fusamura, chairman of the commission, told a news conference that the groups should correct their inward-looking and self-deceiving attitudes and sincerely face the victims of the sarin attack.