Former Aum Shinrikyo leader Fumihiro Joyu may be looking to form his own group with assets from the cult, according to sources.
Joyu told followers at two seminars during the Golden Week holidays that it would be difficult to bridge the gap between the factions within the sect that side with him and that oppose him, the sources said Wednesday.
The anti-Joyu group held separate seminars during the same period at six locations nationwide.
Joyu, 43, indicated he wants to use half of the cult’s financial assets and facilities for his group, the sources said.
He also said he would review Aum’s religious principles and training systems after launching the new group, possibly around July.
Aum founder and spiritual leader Shoko Asahara, 51, was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in 2004 for his roles in 13 criminal cases, including the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 12 people and injured more than 5,500. The Tokyo High Court dismissed his appeal in March.