Dead Asahara disciple's sibling also died mysteriously

Mainichi and Wire Reports/September 25, 2004

Deadly religious rituals based on the lethal teachings of Tokyo subway gassing mastermind Shoko Asahara that led to the death of a devoted female follower earlier this month also claimed her sister's life four years ago, police said.

A follower of a group that split from AUM Shinrikyo when the doomsday cult elected to stray from the guru's teachings following his 1995 arrest for the lethal attack on Tokyo commuters has submitted to police admitting a female member died during a religious training session earlier this month.

The man said he had bashed the 36-year-old woman with a bamboo sword, killing her unintentionally. They were going through a bizarre religious ritual passed on to the Keroyon Club through teachings Asahara had given to AUM.

Police were shocked to learn that the woman's younger sister also died during a bizarre AUM-inspired ritual four years ago, Jiji Press reports said.

There are strong suspicions that the younger sibling boiled to death in a steaming hot bath with waters topping 50 degrees Celsius, another practice instigated by Asahara.

Asahara is currently on Death Row for masterminding the March 20, 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 and left thousands more injured.

When Asahara was arrested, mainstream AUM Shinrikyo followers turned their attention to worshipping his daughter. Some devotees, however, formed the Keroyon Club and continued to practice the guru's teachings with fatal results.

The man who gave himself up to the police admitting to bashing the female follower with a bamboo sword said that she had originally died in a Nakano-ku apartment, then been carried to another home in Nerima-ku, according to Jiji Press reports.

Public Safety Commission officials fear much about the Keroyon Club's activities and continue to investigate the cult with caution.

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