Adachi Ward joins Aum ban


The Japan Times, July 19, 1999

Tokyo's Adachi Ward will neither accept resident registration applications from Aum Shinrikyo followers nor allow them to use ward-run facilities, Adachi Mayor Tsunetoshi Suzuki said Monday.

Suzuki, who became the ward chief after an election last month, made the remarks during the first meeting of an Adachi conference formed to combat the doomsday cult, which appears to be trying to stage a comeback.

The first meeting was held at the ward office, with Suzuki, the assistant mayor and other ward officials attending.

There are many Aum facilities in Adachi Ward, including Aum's "doyens' department," its decision-making organ, its "publicity department" and a personal computer assembly plant.

Aum's personal computer business pulled in an estimated 7 billion yen last year and is seen as an important source of cult revenue.

Many followers are believed to be living in the ward because it is home to the Tokyo Detention House, where Aum founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is being held while on trial for various heinous crimes, according to ward officials.

Public security authorities say currently about 180 Aum members live in the ward.

After the cult opened the key office in June last year, Adachi Ward residents began collecting signatures for a petition demanding the office's expulsion. They also asked the ward government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government to buy the building.

Suzuki told the meeting the ward is ready to do anything it can, but noted its options are limited under the circumstances.

He urged the central government to take action to allay public anxieties about the cult, blaming Aum for a spate of felonies, including deadly nerve gas attacks in Tokyo and Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

Suzuki indicated that he hopes the central government will consider establishing a new law or revising the Antisubversive Activities Law to outlaw the cult.

Suzuki made Adachi Ward a member of an anti-Aum liaison group

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