Agency inspects Aum-related groups

The Japan News/July 6, 2019

By the Yomiuri Shimbun

Tokyo — (JiJi Priess) The Public Security Intelligence Agency conducted on Friday simultaneous on-site inspections at seven facilities belonging to religious organizations with ties to the now-defunct doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo.

The move comes a day before the one-year anniversary of the execution of former cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto, then 63.

Matsumoto, who went by the name of Shoko Asahara, was executed for his involvement in a series of crimes committed by Aum, including a deadly sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system in 1995.

The inspection is aimed at gaining understanding of the inner workings of the groups, including whether the successor cult Aleph continues to worship Matsumoto after his execution.

At around 2 p.m., 15 staff members from the agency entered a training hall belonging to Aleph in Adachi Ward, Tokyo.

Several agency members also entered the headquarters of the splinter group “Hikari no Wa” in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, at around the same time.

The agency’s on-site inspections also covered Aleph facilities in five prefectures, including Hokkaido and Aichi.

The Justice Ministry executed seven Aum-related death-row inmates, including Matsumoto, on July 6 last year.

Others executed on the day include Kiyohide Hayakawa, then 68, and Yoshihiro Inoue, then 48.

Six other former Aum members were executed several days later, on July 26.

All former Aum members sentenced to capital punishment have been executed.

Matsumoto is said to have asked in his will that his remains be handed over to his fourth daughter, according to informed sources.

The daughter said that she plans to scatter her father’s cremated ashes in the Pacific Ocean.

But for the time being the remains are being kept at the Tokyo Detention House, due to fears of problems involving those who still worship Matsumoto.

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