Police confiscate AUM fliers in 3 Kanto raids


Mainichi Daily News/June 5, 1999
By Mainichi Shimbun

Police on Friday confiscated tons of AUM Shinrikyo fliers during raids on the cult's facilities that were conducted as part of an investigation of a cult member's illegal intrusion into a Tokyo condominium, investigators said.

Police seized cult fliers as evidence at three locations, as they believe the group planned to distribute them to people in areas where they are setting up facilities.

The facilities raided include AUM's base of operations in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, and a printing shop in Sanwa, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Prior to Friday's raids, police searched other AUM Shinrikyo offices in Tokyo on May 29. During that search, they confiscated fliers, some of which explain how to distribute the handbills and how to behave if arrested, the investigators said.

Meanwhile, in an apparent move to set up a base of operations in Sanwa, 24 cultists have been trying to submit applications to move into the area, but the municipal government has refused to accept them. The Ibaraki Prefecture Bar Association's human-rights committee decided this week to investigate the issue after AUM Shinrikyo filed a complaint with the association.

A lawyer for the bar association said that the municipality's refusal to accept the applications may be a violation of the cult members' personal rights.

In a related development, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka on Friday told reporters that the government is cautious about revising the Anti-Subversive Activities Law to put the cult under stricter watch.

"We are examining whether other political parties and the public would welcome any such revision of the law," Nonaka said.

The remarks are being interpreted as a retreat from his earlier stance on the issue.

Nonaka, the government's top spokesman, said earlier this week that he appreciated Justice Minister Takao Jinnouchi announcement that the government plans to amend the law to regulate the cult's activities.

Observers say Nonaka apparently changed his position on the matter after members of the opposition party Komeito, which is backed by the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, voiced concerns about revising the law to cover religious organizations.

Because of this, Nonaka said that "some (Liberal Democratic Party) officials are considering a new law specifically intended to regulate AUM Shinrikyo."

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