An Aum Shinrikyo member under arrest was recently hired as a contract employee by a corporation affiliated with the Science and Technology Agency and had been involved in the development of computer systems at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, police said Wednesday.
Prompted by the new revelation about Atushi Ogata, 45, who was arrested Tuesday for allegedly submitting a false resident registration document to a Tokyo ward office, police searched the astronomy laboratory at the university, also known as Todai, on Wednesday morning.
Police are also analyzing some 2,000 items confiscated from the cult’s facilities, they said.
Ogata was employed by Japan Science and Technology Corp. on a contract from May to next spring. He has been developing a program to manage data on research results at the laboratory, police said, adding that another 33-year-old Aum member has also been working at the lab.
An official at the corporation said the firm was not aware that Ogata, who had responded to a help-wanted ad, is a member of Aum and added that the firm will decide his status after considering further developments.
Police arrested Ogata, alleging he had submitted a resident registration document to the Bunkyo Ward office last December that stated that he would move in from Adachi Ward. Instead, he moved into a condominium in Taito Ward the following month.
Police apparently used the false registration as a pretext to search several sites linked to the cult.
These included the condo, which they believe is housing other cultists and is an office to develop personal computer software.
On Tuesday, they searched an Aum site in Adachi Ward where senior cult member Fumihiro Joyu lived from Sept. 20 to Oct. 8, a Kita Ward condo where he is currently living and a PC shop opened by cult members in June in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district.
An Aum official said the false resident registration is a kind of “procedural confusion” that was caused by local governments’ refusal to allow Aum members to register as residents.
Aum members in the recent past had gained access to the computer systems of various government entities, including the Defense Agency.
Some members of Aum — which now calls itself Aleph — have been convicted of crimes or are on trial in serious criminal cases, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000 and other mass murders.
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