Foreign Policy Blogs

32 Aum Shinrikyo cult facilities inspected in 2010

The government said Friday that the Public Security Intelligence Agency inspected 32 facilities belonging to the Aum Shinrikyo cult last year in accordance to a law designed to curb the cult’s activities. The Aum Shinrikyo (Religion of Truth) cult is responsible for the the 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 13 people and injured 6,252.

The cult has since changed its name to Aleph, and has been publicly distancing itself from their terrorist past in recent years. However privately they still look up to Aum founder, Shoko Asahara, as a spiritual guru, and view his planning of the terrorist attack on Tokyo’s subways as a minor character flaw in an otherwise saintly figure. At the facilities the police raided, they found photos of Asahara on display, and the cult members still chant, “It is our pleasure to die for the guru,” to celebrate Asahara’s birthday. Along with an Aleph splinter group called Hikari no Wa (Circle of Rainbow Light), the cult has about 1,500 members.

Asahara, now 56, is on death row. The date of his death has not been announced. Under Japan’s medieval capital punishment laws, Asahara will be informed of his imminent death on the morning of his hanging, and his family and legal representative will be informed after the fact. Then again, considering the same was true for the victims of the sarin gas attack, the punishment may still be too good for the unrepentant cult leader.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]