URAWA - Police on Friday raided some 20 facilities in Saitama and four other prefectures linked to the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult in connection with its lucrative computer-sales business.
Saitama Prefectural Police also arrested the manager of a cult-affiliated computer shop in Tokyo the same day on suspicion of falsifying documents.
The latest probe is aimed at shedding light upon AUM's manufacture and sale of personal computers - a business that pumps billions of yen into the cult's coffers.
It was the first time that investigators had raided AUM's facilities for producing personal computers. Friday's police raids covered the cult's computer assemblying factories in the warehouses in the Saitama cities of Kawaguchi and Yashio.
Other locations searched by police include the cult's legal affairs department in Tokyo's Adachi-ku, cult-affiliated computer shops in Tokyo's Chiyoda-ku, Osaka and Nagoya, and an affiliated construction company in Yokohama.
Arrested on Friday was Masahiro Itatani, 32, from Tokyo's Adachi-ku, who is the manager of an AUM-affiliated personal computer shop called Trisal.
Itatani is accused of improper entry into and use of the original of an officially authenticated electromagnetic record.
Itatani allegedly filed a fake application with the Toshima branch of the Tokyo Regional Legal Affairs Bureau when he registered the paper company, called Kaiho and purportedly based in Tokyo's Toshima-ku, in July 1997.
The Yashio factory has been rented under Kaiho's name, and the contract for its lease has been renewed recently, police said.
Meanwhile, a freight company that owns the warehouse in Kawaguchi has been demanding that the cult vacate the premises.
The company did not know that the tenant of the warehouse - an import and sales company of electronic parts, called SBR - was linked to the cult, a company official said.
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