AUM uses sultry Net sirens to lure male members

Mainichi Shimbun/January 29, 2003

Nagoya -- AUM Shinrikyo, the doomsday cult responsible for the 1995 deadly gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, is getting women to use controversial Internet matchmaking sites to lure new men into the group, the Mainichi has learned.

The cult is allegedly luring new men into the group through lecherous matchmaking sites.

Amorous AUM members from the cult's Nagoya base apparently pretend to be interested in meeting men's desires for female companionship, but instead use their seduction to get the men into the cult.

Aichi police's public safety officials say the cult has been using the lecherous lures since it began something of a comeback in the autumn of 2001. They are unaware of how many men the AUM sirens have lured into their clutches.

AUM vehemently denies the allegations.

"It's true AUM uses its website and the writings of leader (Fumihiro) Joyu to put forth news about its activities, but the group does not use matchmaking sites to secure new members, nor are believers instructed to do so," cult mouthpiece Hiroshi Araki said.

Police quoted a recent example of a man who used his mobile phone to respond to a message posted in a matchmaking site by a woman saying that she was lonely and wanted somebody to talk to. The woman replied and agreed to meet him.

When he turned up at the appointed time, there were two women waiting for him. The three went to a nearby cafe, where the women told him they were about to head off to a yoga class and invited him to join them.

The man went to the class, discovered that he enjoyed yoga and became a regular. The woman he originally contacted through the matchmaking site approached him and asked if he would like to meet Joyu. Shocked -- Joyu was a fixture on Japanese TV until his arrest in 1995 as he vehemently denied AUM involvement in the deadly subway gassing -- the man back off, only to relent when the woman told him that she felt an introduction to Joyu would allow him to study yoga at a more advanced level.

He was taken to a monthly meeting where the cult leader read sutras. He began attending these meetings without fail and became a member of the cult. He soon developed doubts about the authenticity of AUM's teachings, however, and left the group.

AUM members have been convicted for several crimes in addition to the subway attack. Several members sit on Death Row while cult guru Shoko Asahara is in the Tokyo Detention Center while his murder trial continues.

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