White cult settles in Fukui mountains

Mainichi Shimbun, Japan/May 10, 2003

Fukui -- Dozens of police officers on Saturday are keeping a close watch on the white-clad Panawave Laboratory cult after a convoy of some 20 white vehicles arrived at the Fukui "lodgment" the previous night.

A convoy of Panawave cars past through Izumi, Fukui Prefecture, on their way to the prefectural capital.

Kiyoshi Maeda, head of a local resident group in Fukui's Godaishi area, told the cult that residents would accept them if they cut both the number of regular members stationed at the lodgment and their vehicles to 10 or less.

Maeda also asked them to "disband" in 12 months after settling in Godaishi.

Cult members who talked with Maeda said they would try to persuade senior members to follow the wishes of local residents.

Fukui Prefectural Police plan to "contain" Panawave members at the base of a mountainous area in Godaishi after trips earlier this month through Gifu and Nagano prefectures only irritated local residents.

"It would be best to keep the Panawave Laboratory in the mountainous area where it owns property," a top police officer said.

Fukui officials said they would receive cult members' applications for resident registration if they decided to settle in the area.

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