NUMAZU, Japan, May 28, 1997 (Kyodo) A Shizuokabased religious sect was ordered Wednesday by the Numazu branch of the Shizuoka District Court to pay compensation to former followers who filed a suit against the organization in 1996.
According to the suit, 167 former followers filed a suit against the Honohanasampogyo sect, claiming it had swindled money out of them by making them pay for such things as training and fortune telling. The former members demanded the sect pay back some 660 million yen.
A spokesman for the sect's legal affairs said the organization is aware of its social status and duty as a religious body and will abide by the ruling.
The sect and the former followers reached a settlement in 1992 whereby the organization agreed to pay back a total of 980 million yen to 221 former members.
The organization, however, stopped paying the compensation after its lawyer resigned in May 1996. According to the plaintiffs, some 670 million yen in total, for 170 former members, has not been paid.
Similar suits against the sect have been filed in other regions outside Shizuoka Prefecture.