UTSUNOMIYA, Japan, June 28, 1999 (Kyodo) -- The Otawara municipal government in Tochigi Prefecture decided Monday to refuse residency registration to children of AUM Shinrikyo cult leader Shoko Asahara, municipal officials said.
The municipal government will soon notify AUM of its decision to deny registration applications for Asahara's second daughter, 18, and 5-year-old second son, the officials said. Asahara's real name is Chizuo Matsumoto.
The two are already living in Otawara after moving out of the village of Asahi in Ibaraki Prefecture. They are currently not registered anywhere.
The city government told a meeting of municipal assembly members it decided to deny the applications on grounds that the two are "closely and inseparably linked" to Asahara, whose cult has caused "social anxiety," the officials said.
The city government said it was rejecting the applications from the viewpoint of public welfare, they said.
Hiroshi Araki, deputy chief of AUM's public relations department, told a news conference Monday, "We cannot accept the illegal measure. We want to call on all legal means, including raising our objection."
On Friday, Otawara city authorities accepted an application for a 27-year-old AUM follower to move in.
On Saturday, a group of Otawara residents filed a request with the city urging it to deny residency registrations for anyone related to AUM.
In April, the town of Sanwa in Ibaraki Prefecture denied the applications of 24 AUM followers to move into a printing factory in the town. AUM has been protesting the decision, claiming it violates the Constitution.
Asahara and some senior AUM members have been accused of making the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing, which killed 12 people and injured more than 5,300 others.
In 1997, the Public Security Commission, an independent administrative body, rejected the government's request for the Antisubversive Activities Law to be evoked to disband AUM.
At the time, the commission said AUM posed no threat to society since it had been declared bankrupt as a religious corporation and most of those followers wanted by police had been arrested.
Recently, however, AUM has shown signs of stepping up its activities. It has reportedly set up two prefabricated buildings in the mountain village of Kawakami in Nagano Prefecture, stirring up anxiety among local residents.
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