Hundreds of videos featuring AUM Shinrikyo guru Shoko Asahara advocating murder as a religious belief have been seized from a member of the doomsday cult, police said Tuesday.
Public safety authorities believe that Asahara -- detained in the Tokyo Detention Center while his mass-murder trial remains in session -- retains enormous influence over AUM followers and have pledged to keep a close watch on the cult.
AUM has publicly announced it has disavowed the teachings of Asahara, the suspected mastermind of the 1995 lethal gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, but public safety officials dispute the claim. "When the guru says, 'kill that,' it's time has come," Asahara says in the terrifying video. "When an acolyte kills, the victim has been ritually murdered. That is the best time to kill." The cult has claimed that all materials relating to the murderous teaching have been destroyed.
Police said 1,700 videos and cassette tapes were seized after a raid on an apartment in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, following a false report from a male member of the cult that he had moved into the abode, but had not actually done so.
It is believed the Sumida-ku apartment was used by the cult as a storage area for videos. It was raided after a cult member tried to register it as an official address in an attempt to claim unemployment benefits.
A spokesman for AUM, now calls itself Aleph, argued that the killer videos are not used in their current training. "We kept the videos at the room to check whether they are suitable for teachings of Aleph. If they are not, they will be destroyed," the spokesman said.