Cult firm in same building as gas-attack widow


South China Morning Post/March 30, 1999

The Aum Shinri Kyo cult, accused of spreading deadly sarin gas in Tokyo's subway, has further outraged the widow of one of its alleged victims by having rooms rented in her apartment block.

A computer firm linked to the cult has leased the rooms in the building in Tokyo's northern Adachi district, said the Nikkan Sports newspaper yesterday.

The apartment block is home to Shizue Takahashi, whose husband Kazumasa died in the March 1995 sarin attack that killed 12 people and injured thousands.

"The Aum's move is upsetting me," she said.

"I am almost broken with mortification."

The 52-year-old woman's husband was one of two subway workers who died trying to clean up the liquefied poison.

Mrs. Takahashi is head of a victims' group which has filed a damages suit against the cult.

The cult's rooms are hidden by curtains and frosted glass, the Nikkan Sports reported.

It said Mrs. Takahashi had contacted police to try to stop Aum disciples visiting the building, but the request apparently had no effect.

The Aum-related company has a lease until the end of the month but could buy the rooms, the report said.

The building is about 2km from the jail holding Aum sect leader Shoko Asahara, still revered by many followers.

Asahara and other cult members accused of directing the Tokyo gas attack are on trial.

The Aum cult - also accused of a 1994 gas attack in the central city of Matsumoto that killed seven - was not outlawed because a legal panel ruled in January 1997 that it no longer threatened society.

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