• Kyodo

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The Mito District Court on Tuesday ordered the town government of Sanwa, in Ibaraki Prefecture, to pay about 2 million yen to 21 members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult for refusing their applications to register their residencies.

The town rejected the applications in April 1999, saying the applicants could jeopardize the peaceful lives of local residents.

The Aum members filed a suit saying their basic human rights are being violated because they are unable to register for national health insurance without residency documents.

However, the town government has stood by its decision, saying it was appropriate and that it had rejected the applications partly out of consideration of the desire of local residents.

A number of local governments across Japan have refused to allow members of the cult — responsible for the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured thousands more — to register as residents.

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