• Kyodo

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Aum Shinrikyo petitioned the Mito District Court on Wednesday to order the municipal government of Sanwa, Ibaraki Prefecture, to accept its members’ registrations for residency so they can vote in the coming general election, group members said.

The cult called on the court to issue a provisional order to overturn a previous decision by the government of Sanwa not to grant residency to 15 Aum members living in the town.

Without resident status, they will be unable to vote in the June 25 Lower House general election.

Aum, which now calls itself Aleph, plans to take similar legal action for members living in two Tokyo municipalities, they said.

Several municipalities in Japan have refused to accept Aum members as residents due to other residents’ concerns about the presence of the cult.

Aum founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and a number of other cultists have been accused or convicted of committing a number of serious crimes, including the 1995 fatal sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.