Measures sought to seize more Aum assets

Japan Times, Sept 22, 1999

Court-appointed administrators for Aum Shinrikyo will seek legislative measures to enable them to seize additional assets from the religious cult, their representative said Wednesday.

Saburo Abe, head of the team of lawyers assigned to liquidate Aum, said the additional steps are needed to meet demands for compensation from victims of the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system and the June 1994 sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

Abe said he would work with Diet members and the Justice Ministry to draft a special bill to allow them to demand further compensation for submission during the next ordinary Diet session, which starts in January.

After concluding the day's meeting with creditors, mainly gas attack victims and their families, Abe said they will hold another meeting in September next year to demand further financial compensation from the cult.

In October 1998, 960 million yen was awarded to about 2,100 claimants for damages caused by various crimes blamed on Aum. The cult was declared bankrupt by the Tokyo District Court in 1996, since which time its assets have been managed by the appointed administrators.

The amount awarded, however, is just 23 percent of what the claimants are seeking.

The National Public Safety Commission revealed recently that the cult is earning about 7 billion yen in profits each year by manufacturing and selling personal computers. The news triggered creditors' demands for further compensation.

Abe added that the administrators also plan to further push the cultists to stop using the name Aum Shinrikyo, claiming that the right shifted to their control when the cult declared bankruptcy.

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