The Public Security Intelligence Agency raided 11 Aum Shinrikyo facilities across the country Tuesday and said it found an internal document calling for a “calm response” if cult founder Shoko Asahara is put to death.
The agency sees the document, dated March 30, as aimed at containing anxiety among followers after the Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal against the death sentence given to Asahara, 51, who was convicted of 13 crimes, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
The raid involving 160 officers covered cult facilities from Sapporo to Fukuoka. According to the agency, it conformed to a law under which dangerous groups can be kept under surveillance.
It was the first and the biggest raid since February 2004, which came just before Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death by a district court.
According to the agency, the document offered an account of Asahara’s trial and said, “Society’s interest is focused on the trial” and asked followers “to take full caution not to make any remarks or take actions that could cause misunderstanding” among the general public and to remain calm.