AUM still keeping founder Asahara's sermons justifying murder

Mainichi Daily News, Japan/January 1, 2006

Hundreds of videotapes that record AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara's sermons justifying his orders to murder people are still being kept at a cult facility, public security authorities said.

Public Security Investigation Agency officials said the finding clearly demonstrates that the cult remains loyal to Asahara. The agency intends to use the discovery as the basis for a decision it will make before the end of this month to place the cult under probation for three more years under the law regulating anti-social groups.

During a raid on the cult's facility in Saitama in July last year, agency inspectors found about 550 videotapes recording approximately 1,100 sermons Asahara delivered before the cult launched sarin gas attacks on Tokyo subway trains in March 1995, agency officials said.

Followers at the facility admitted that they are the master recordings of the guru's sermons.

Police apparently had previously failed to find the tapes during raids on the facility, agency officials said.

In some of the sermons, Asahara justifies his orders to kill people.

"You are allowed to do whatever the guru orders you to do, including murder," he said in a cult seminar in the Tanzawa district of Kanagawa Prefecture in 1987. "If the guru orders you to kill someone, it is the time for that person to die."

Following the subway attack that killed 12 people and sickened thousands of others, the cult declared that it had given up dangerous doctrines.

However, the cult has remained loyal to Asahara since cult leader Fumihiro Joyu disappeared from public appearance in October 2003 under the pretext of religious training.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is appealing a death sentence handed down on him for masterminding the subway gassing and other crimes committed by his followers.

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