Gov't promises to keep eye on AUM

Mainichi Shimbun Thursday 20 May 1999

The government will try to relieve people's anxieties about a possible resurgence by the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said on Wednesday.

Nonaka's remark, made during a news conference on Wednesday morning, came in response to a request filed earlier in the day by a group of Diet members asking that the government take legal measures to regulate the cult's activities.

[The government] will carefully examine possible measures to be taken against the cult, whose activities have recently become more visible, Nonaka told the Diet members.

The group, which visited Nonaka at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo's Chiyoda-ku, demanded that legal revisions be made so that the Subversive Activities Prevention Law can be applied to the cult to regulate its violent activities.

Furthermore, the lawmakers' group even requested a new law be made, which would be specifically aimed at curbing the cult's activities.

Yet Nonaka said at the news conference later that it would be difficult to make a law that specifically applied to the AUM Shinrikyo.

Meanwhile, police confiscated a radiation detector from the cult's facilities in Kawakami, Nagano Prefecture.

The find came during Tuesday's police raids on the group's facilities in Nagano, Tokyo, Aichi and Fukushima prefectures, in connection with an alleged illegal land acquisition by a 39-year-old AUM follower.

According to police, the AUM follower acquired land in a mountainous area in Kawakami, Nagano Prefecture, in the guise of a real-estate executive.