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YOKOHAMA — People living near a Yokohama condominium containing an Aum Shinrikyo office demanded Tuesday that former cult spokesman Fumihiro Joyu and other followers immediately leave the area. The written demand by a town council, shop owners and local residents came after the neighborhood was thrown into turmoil when Joyu, considered the cult’s second in command after founder Shoko Asahara, arrived in Yokohama on Dec. 29 after being released from Hiroshima Prison. Joyu met the residents and said he has no plans to permanently reside at the condominium, adding that the cult will “clarify its position on Jan. 20” over the heinous crimes for which its members have been accused, according to a senior member of the residents’ union. Aum, however, turned down the residents’ demand to leave. Later in the day, in a written reply, the cult said that it would be difficult to immediately leave the facility “because (moving to a new place) will only create the same problem.” Since Joyu entered the cult facility, the Naka Ward condominium has been surrounded daily by a mob of onlookers and about 100 reporters attempting to get a glimpse of the high-profile Joyu.

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