The Public Security Investigation Agency has decided to file a request with the Public Security Examination Commission to keep Aum Shinrikyo under surveillance for another three years and reported the decision to Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama, sources close to the case said Saturday.
The agency has been monitoring the activities of the cult, which has renamed itself Aleph, under an anti-Aum law, which stipulates the cult must be left alone once the commission determines it no longer poses a danger to the public.
The Public Security Investigation Agency wants to extend the surveillance on the grounds that Aum guru Chizuo Matsumoto, still on trial for the 1995 nerve gas attack in the Tokyo subway system as well as other crimes, “continues to wield power over the cult” and can order indiscriminate mass killings.
Acting under the powers of the current surveillance authority, the agency has kept 88 Aum facilities in 16 prefectures under watch since January 2000.
The current period of surveillance for the cult will expire at the end of January. The agency plans to file the request at the beginning of December.
Matsumoto, 47, known to his followers as Shoko Asahara, has been on trial since April 1996.
He continues to deny the charges against him.
Twelve people died and thousands were injured in the March 20, 1995, subway gassing.
The cult filed a petition with the Public Security Investigation Agency in August demanding that it cancel the policy of keeping the cult under surveillance for another three years.
It also filed a request with the Public Security Examination Commission on Nov. 6 that it cease to be subject to surveillance, arguing it no longer poses a public threat.
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