Revision of antisubversion law eyed to regulate Aum


May 31, 1999

TOKYO, May 31, 1999 (Kyodo) -- Justice Minister Takao Jinnouchi said Monday his ministry is planning a revision of a 1952 antisubversion to regulate the activities of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, whose founder Shoko Asahara is charged with murder and attempted murder in the 1995 sarin gas attack against Tokyo subway system.

"We will work to amend the Antisubversive Activities Law to restrict activities of (violent) groups effectively and appropriately," Jinnouchi said at a meeting of local public security officials held at the Justice Ministry.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka voiced support toward the comment later in a regular news conference, saying it is "very significant" that Jinnouchi voiced an intention to consider amending the law.

Aum's recent activities in various parts of Japan have sparked anxiety among local residents, Nonaka said.

In 1997, the Public Security Commission, an independent administrative body, rejected the government's request that the law be applied to disband Aum.

At the time, the commission said Aum no longer posed a threat to society as it had been declared bankrupt and most of its followers who were wanted by police had been arrested.

National Public Safety Commission Chairman Takeshi Noda, who is also home affairs minister, has suggested that the law's application should be reconsidered to restrict Aum activities.

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