A group of lawyers representing people allegedly defrauded by the Honohana Sampogyo foot-reading cult said that about 100 victims will sue the cult as early as August, seeking a total of 500 million yen in damages.
The victims will file fresh damages suits against the religious group with eight district courts — in Tokyo, Akita, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Fukui, Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures, the lawyers said Friday.
About 1,100 people nationwide have already filed damages suits against the cult, seeking compensation totaling 5.4 billion yen. Victims claim the cult swindled them out of money in the name of fees.
Hogen Fukunaga, 55, the founder and former leader of Honohana, and several other senior members of the cult have been arrested and indicted on suspicion of fraud.
Police allege that Fukunaga pressured victims into paying “training fees” after examining the soles of their feet and falsely diagnosing illnesses in them and their families.
After Fukunaga and other cult members were arrested in May, an additional 280 people consulted with the lawyers saying they had been swindled by the cult, with damages reaching as high as 40 million yen per case, the group said.
The lawyers also asked the Cultural Affairs Agency on Friday to order the cult to be disbanded under the Religious Juridical Persons Law. The agency has the power to grant groups religious corporation status and issue orders to disband.
In the first ruling involving the cult April 28, the Fukuoka District Court ordered Honohana and Fukunaga to pay 27 people 227.2 million yen in damages for defrauding them out of money in the name of fees.