LDP, LP agree to create headquarters to deal with AUM


July 12, 1999

TOKYO, July 12, 1999 (Kyodo) -- The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner, the Liberal Party (LP), agreed Monday to set up a task to soothe public anxiety over the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult, government officials said.

LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori proposed the idea to the LP to take possible legal action against the cult, whose moves to establish strongholds in various parts of Japan have caused conflicts with local residents.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told reporters that the proposed task force is expected to study the possibilities of establishing a new law aimed at controlling the cult's activities and a possible revision of the Antisubversive Activities Law.

Nonaka also said the body agreed upon will consider applying the law again to the cult as well as supporting victims of AUM-related activities.

In 1997, the Public Security Commission, an independent body, rejected the government's request to invoke the Antisubversive Activities Law and disband the cult.

Nonaka indicated the government's intention to cooperate with opposition parties and municipalities concerned in tackling the issue.

"It's a difficult task, as basic human rights (of the cult members) must be considered, but the government is resolved to take steps to ease public anxiety as soon as possible," Nonaka said.

AUM leader Shoko Asahara and a number of AUM members have been charged with murder and attempted murder in various crimes including the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system, which killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000.

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