Aum Shinrikyo experienced financial problems and started changing its dogma in summer 1992, when the cult began efforts to branch out into Russia, according to former Aum physician Ikuo Hayashi in his trial at the Tokyo District Court on Oct. 8.Due to the heavy financial burden of investing in publishing, TV and radio in Russia, the cult was unable to provide followers with the cult’s unique “Aum food” — a simple dish of vegetables, rice and seaweed — and instead gave them concentrated dietary supplements, cookies and noodles, Hayashi said.Starting in 1992, cult founder Shoko Asahara also began telling his followers that the outbreak of World War III was inevitable, going back on his previous preaching that creating a cult of 30,000 monks would solve the world’s problems and avoid such a conflict. Asahara threatened his followers by saying that 90 percent of the people living in Japan’s cities would die in the conflict, in which Japan would battle the United States, according to Hayashi. In 1993, Asahara started predicting the weapons the U.S. would use in World War III, as well as those the cult was trying to obtain from Russia to resist, Hayashi said.

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