The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will consider creating a law to specifically curb Aum Shinrikyo's activities, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Friday.
Shifting from the government's earlier stance that it would study amendments to the Antisubversive Activities Law to better cope with the cult problem, Nonaka said such revisions may trigger unnecessary concerns from the public and other political parties.
It is believed amendments to the law would cause other religious groups, including Soka Gakkai -- Japan's largest lay Buddhist organization and the main support group of New Komeito -- to fear their activities would also be restricted. New Komeito has recently sided with the LDP-Liberal Party coalition on various bills.
"Some LDP members suggest that it may be better to consider pushing a law targeting only Aum Shinrikyo's activities," Nonaka said. "We want to consider this suggestion carefully ... and we must step up our effort within the government to diminish people's concerns."
The Public Security Commission, an independent seven-member board, declined to invoke the law in 1995 after cult members were accused of the deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway system that March and other heinous crimes.
The government had been studying amendments to the law so Aum's activities can be subject to it.
The top government spokesman said Aum has recently been erecting prefabricated buildings in various places for its members, and it appears the cult is becoming more active, alarming residents near the facilities.
He said the government will thoroughly discuss the issue with the LDP to hammer out measures to tackle the problem.