Aum to end external activities, suspend use of name

Kyodo, September 29, 1999

TOKYO, Sept. 29, 1999 (Kyodo) -- The AUM Shinrikyo religious cult said Wednesday night it will terminate all its external activities and suspend the use of its name.

AUM announced the decision in a news conference at its office in Tokyo's Adachi Ward.

AUM founder Shoko Asahara and other members of the cult are on trial in connection with the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 12 and injured thousands, as well as other cases.

An admission of involvement in the Tokyo subway gassing and other cases would mark a complete turnaround for AUM, which has consistently denied any connection to a series of criminal cases in which some of its members have been found guilty.

Security authorities speculated that the cult wants to come clean with the public to earn sympathy as the government is preparing to submit a bill aimed at restricting AUM's activities.

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