Aum Shinrikyo Has More Members In Russia Than In Japan

Daily News Bulletin (Moscow)/August 12, 2003

Moscow -- The Aum Shinrikyo sect has more members in Russia than in Japan, Metropolitan Kiril, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Foreign Relations Department, has announced.

On Tuesday, Metropolitan Kiril met with the chief priests of the six largest Japanese churches. The Japanese delegation expressed regret that members of the Aum Shinrikyo sect, who organized a terrorist attack in Tokyo eight years ago, continue to influence the spiritual health of Russian citizens.

After a gas attack in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995, in which 12 people were killed and over 5,400 suffered, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal investigation into the activities of the Moscow branch of this Japanese sect. In a month, the Russian and Moscow branches of the sect were closed by a court ruling "in the interests of the state."

Metropolitan Kiril and the Japanese delegation agreed that a campaign against sects should be waged.

Metropolitan Kiril said that "deeper cooperation between the two countries' religious leaders could facilitate Russian-Japanese rapprochement."

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