The mayor and assembly chairman of Fuji city, in Shizuoka Prefecture, on Friday asked the government to dissolve the Honohana Sanpogyo religious cult, which is headquartered in the city.
Mayor Kiyomi Suzuki and Fuji city Assembly Chairman Sadahiko Matsumoto visited Fukushiro Nukaga, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence and handed him a written request urging the Cultural Agency to dissolve the cult.
In reply, Nukaga told Suzuki, “We fully understand the situation in Fuji.”
The mayor and the chairman, accompanied by other officials from Fuji, made the same request to Justice Minister Hideo Usui and Education Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.
The Fuji city delegation called on Usui as prosecutors are able to ask courts to dissolve religious cults.
Suzuki, pointing out that police claim Honohana is a fraudulent group, told Usui the cult has grown larger since setting up in the city about 13 years ago and has become a nuisance.
Usui told the delegation that he takes their request seriously but will deal with the case carefully and act with the Cultural Agency, as Honohana is currently under investigation.
Nakasone told the delegation that he will discuss the issue with organizations concerned and observe developments in the investigation.
Suzuki and the others also visited Home Affairs Minister Kosuke Hori.
On Monday, the assembly passed a resolution calling for the cult to be dissolved after the May 9 arrest of cult founder Hogen Fukunaga, whose real name is Teruyoshi Fukunaga, and other top cult members on suspicion of fraud.
Fukunaga and the top cult members are suspected of defrauding three women out of a total of 22 million yen after “reading” the soles of their feet between November 1994 and June 1995 and offering bogus cures for illnesses suffered by their relatives.
According to investigations, the group is suspected of having collected about 100 billion yen in “training fees” from thousands of followers.