Bankruptcy paves way for cultists' eviction


The Japan Times, July 9, 1999

The Tokyo District Court has recognized as bankrupt the owners of a building in Tokyo's Adachi Ward pivotal in the operations of Aum Shinrikyo, paving the way for court-appointed administrators to demand that the cultists vacate the premises.

The court Thursday accepted a request for recognition of personal bankruptcy filed by three people who inherited the building from a construction firm president who died last year.

With the court decision, Saburo Abe, the lawyer who heads a team of administrators ordered to liquidate the cult, was appointed to handle the bankruptcy of the three people in question.

Abe said the same day that he plans to take legal measures to evict the Aum members from the three-story building, and immediately filed a request with the district court to ban the cultists from renting out the building to a third party. The court immediately accepted the request.

Later in the day, Aum Shinrikyo issued a statement saying it would comply with the administrator's demand, although it added that the cult needs some time before it can finish moving out.

In the afternoon, Abe met with Adachi Ward head Tsunetoshi Suzuki and called for the ward's cooperation.

Suzuki said he was prepared to do everything possible to allay concerns about Aum's activities among ward residents, adding that he was considering the rejection of future applications for residency registrations submitted by cult members.

According to registration documents, the building was rented out in June 1998 to figures connected with the cult by a person said to have signed a three-year contract with the building's owner at that time.

Ward officials said that 26 people with ties to the cult are registered as residents of the building, and a few others are also living there.

Local residents have begun a petition movement calling for the removal of the Aum members, and the ward is expected to set up a section to handle Aum-related incidents by the end of the month.

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