Nagoya, Kyodo -- The Nagoya branch of AUM Shinrikyo is preparing to move to new premises in the center of Nagoya that may become the cult's new headquarters for central Japan, the police said Monday. The branch plans to move to a four-story building in Naka Ward, renting rooms on the second and third floors with total floor space of about 200 square meters, police officials said, adding that cult members have been preparing the rooms since the middle of this month.
The building is owned by a company in Nishi Ward but rented out to a real estate company in Chuo Ward that sublets it.
The president of the company which owns the building told Kyodo News he is aware the cult may move into the building but that sublets are left to the real estate company.
The real estate company declined to comment on the issue.
The AUM branch currently occupies a building in Nagoya's Nishi Ward. It vacated the building once before in December 1999 but returned in August last year after promising the landlord it would stop holding religious seminars there.
However, religious activities continued and AUM followers have frequented the building, according to investigators.
The landlord notified the cult it would have to leave the building when the contract expires July 31 after local residents demanded the cult to move out of the area, the police said.