Aum Supreme Truth cult members who support Fumihiro Joyu have decided to officially cut their ties with the cult as early as the beginning of March, with the aim of establishing a new religious sect, according to sources close to the cult.
About 200 followers, including between 60 to 70 live-in members, will disavow the teachings of Chizuo Matsumoto, the cult founder known as Shoko Asahara, who was sentenced to death.
The Public Security Intelligence Agency doubts they can completely cut themselves off from Matsumoto's influence and will continue to keep a close watch on them.
The cult has been split between members supporting Joyu, 44, and fundamentalist members who have kept faith with Matsumoto, 51, for the past several years.
The two groups have held separate large seminars during the New Year or Golden Week holidays since the end of 2005. In July 2006, the Joyu group occupied one of two adjacent apartment buildings at the cult's headquarters in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, and started living there apart from the rest of the cult's members.
The groups' accounts have been also separated, and each group has been paying their respective rents independently.