Cult Foots Bill For Family's Splurge

Asahi Shimbun/July 11, 2000

The family of former cult leader Hogen Fukunaga spent 1.83 billion yen of the 95 billion yen the Ho no Hana Sanpogyo foot cult swindled from its followers, police sources said Monday.

The sources said police have managed to account for nearly all of the 95 billion yen in revenue the cult collected between 1987 and 1999. The group was recognized as a religious organization in 1987.

Tokyo prosecutors indicted 14 cult staff members on charges of fraud at the Tokyo District Court on Monday, having wrapped up their investigation of the cult. A total of 19 cult members have been arrested.

The cult gathered 85 billion yen from followers in the form of training fees and from sales of hanging scrolls and other expensive cult items. It raised an additional 10 billon yen from its 24 affiliates, the sources said.

The cult's largest expenditure was the 30 billion yen it spent on buying land and building its headquarters in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, and on its facility in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. That was followed by 20 billion yen spent on staff wages and in the operation of facilities, including rent for Fukunaga's apartment.

Police sources said Fukunaga and his wife spent 490 million yen from cult revenue over six years to buy hundreds of bags, about 300 shoes and brand products.

The couple spent about 250 million yen staying at expensive hotels, paying as much as 500,000 yen a night.

The cult paid for karaoke lessons for Fukunaga's wife and the rent of his girlfriend's home.

One cult staff member received a 380 million yen reward for luring in many followers.

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