Since the nerve gas attack in March, 1995, many Aum-related incidents have been reported.
A sampling of reports:
A male follower of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which has been renamed Aleph, was found dead in a bathtub at the group's facility in Tokyo on Sunday [2 January], the police said.
The police said they suspect the dead follower is Wakashio Togashi, 45, a former senior Aum member who served a prison term for involvement in the cult's sarin gas attack in June 1994 in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and having a hand in the construction of its sarin plant.
While a police autopsy found the cause of his death to be drowning, group members suggested he may have died from an accident while going through "thermal training" in which followers soak for long hours in hot water with temperatures of about 50 C.
"To prevent unforeseen accidents, we have fully banned thermal training within our group," the group said in a statement issued Sunday.
Three members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of renting an apartment in Yokohama as a place of residence by hiding their intention to use it as an AUM facility, police said.
Public prosecutors on Thursday
[11 November] indicted three former members of the AUM Shinrikyo group on charges of fatal assault of a woman through religious training, the prosecutors said. Yuko Kitazawa, the 40-year-old leader of an AUM splinter group called Keroyon
, and two other Keroyon members were indicted over the death of a 36-year-old group member on 10 September after the suspects allegedly beat the victim with bamboo swords for eight hours at a Tokyo apartment to remove her bad karma, they said.
Kitazawa told investigators she ordered other members to beat the victim 100,000 times with bamboo swords, investigation sources said.
Two senior members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, under indictment for the group's unauthorized sales of a cream it claimed could treat atopic dermatitis, were hit Monday with fraud charges, police said.
Takashi Inoue, 36, former head of the cult's Tokyo training hall, and Kiyoshi Nakano, 37, another cult member, were served with fresh arrest warrants accusing them of fraud.
When they sold anti-atopic dermatitis cream made in China to nine people over the 12-month period until last March, they falsely claimed that the products contained no side-effect-causing steroids, thereby defrauding them out of 185,000 yen, investigators said.
AUM Shinrikyo has set up more than 10 business entities across Japan purportedly to help victims of its past crimes but the intention is really to increase its revenues, the Justice Ministry's Public Security Investigation Agency said in a report released Friday.
More than 60 former Aum Supreme Truth members who seceded from the cult have set up at least five sects that engage in activities based on the doctrine of Aum's founder Chizuo Matsumoto, police said Thursday.
Followers were continuing to practice some of the cult's doctrines even though the group changed its name to "Aleph" to weaken its association with Matsumoto following Aum's sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995 and other incidents.
For our complete news archive on Aum Shinrikyo, see Religion News Blog's Aum Shinrikyo News Tracker.
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