Japan police find bodies of two mummified children

Reuters/January 21, 1999

Tokyo -- Japanese police said on Friday they found two mummified bodies of children in a house suspected of being used by a fringe religious group in western Japan.

The body of a six-year-old boy was found lying on a bed, while another body of an infant, whose sex has not been identified, was found in a wooden box near the boy, said a spokesman for Miyazaki Prefectural Police in southwestern Japan.

Authorities arrested two occupants of the house, Junichiro Higashi, 55, and Akemi Togashi, 49, on suspicion of abandoning the corpses of the two children, believed to have been dead for over a year.

Higashi headed a group called "Kaieda-juku" which media reports described as a quasi-religious group treating children with illnesses as well as those with problems in school.

Higashi was quoted in the media as telling investigators that he was "the representative of the Creator" and that he was "sending energy to the bodies to revive them."

Police inspected the house on Thursday after a 35-year-old man reported earlier this month that his six-year-old son was sent to the group to receive treatment for his kidney ailment two years ago but never allowed back to his home.

The body was identified as the missing son.

Police declined to comment on the media reports or the nature of the group, saying investigations were ongoing.

Japan has seen an increasing number of bizarre cults grabbing headlines of late.

In November, police found a mummified body of a 66-year-old sect follower whose family claimed the man was alive and receiving treatment for a brain haemorrhage by getting pats on his head from the cult guru.

Police who later raided facilities belonging to the cult, called "Life Space," found children crammed into an apartment, apparently kept away from school and fed only once a day.

In December, police raided offices of a "foot cult" which allegedly charged huge fees to diagnose ailments by examining the soles of people's feet.

Experts believe the number of cults are increasing, although precise figures on cult memberships are impossible to come by given the legal difficulties of labelling any particular group as problematic.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.