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Aum Shinri-kyo and Related Controversies

"Tax bureau rejects complaint from Aum"

("Yomiuri Shimbun," August 22, 2000)

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has informed two Tokyo-based computer retailers affiliated with the Aum Supreme Truth cult that it has rejected their complaint over having to pay about 800 million yen in back taxes, including penalties, sources said Monday.
The two companies, Poseidon in Chiyoda Ward and SBR in Taito Ward, have one month in which to file an appeal with the bureau. But as the bureau has been unable to contact the presidents of the two firms and the content of the complaint is ambiguous, tax authorities say the firms' complaint appears to have been merely a ploy to gain time.
The bureau plans to begin collecting the taxes and to seize the stores, the sources said. The two stores were the cash cows of the Aum-affiliated computer business. In late March, the bureau informed the two companies they had failed to report 1.2 billion yen in income and asked them to pay 800 million yen in back taxes, including consumption tax and penalties.
Both companies stopped doing business after they were investigated in June last year. The two companies filed the complaint on May 29 with the bureau in Otemachi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, the sources said.
According to the sources, the complaint said police had already searched their offices and confiscated their ledgers by the time the bureau audited their books.
According to the complaint, the bureau carried out the audit by force although the two companies had asked for a postponement of the audit.
The complaint also contended the audit itself was illegal, arguing that audits are supposed to be conducted on a voluntary basis.

"Aum hands over Tokigawa facilities"

("Japan Times," August 20, 2000)

URAWA (Kyodo) Aum Shinrikyo handed over its two facilities in Tokigawa, Saitama Prefecture, to the village Sunday morning, keeping an earlier promise to leave the region.
The 6-year-old twin daughters of Hisako Ishii, formerly a senior Aum member, and seven others were living in one of the facilities. The villagers had demanded that they leave the town because they did not want the children to attend the local school.
In April, the village allowed the daughters to attend a local school for the first term only, on condition that they leave the village by Sunday.
The village is set to buy the facilities and land from Aum for 45 million yen.
All of the nine people who lived in the facilities had left by Sunday. Five of them, including the twins, tried to register their residency in Hasuda city in the prefecture on Aug. 1, but the request was turned down and they have no registration to date.
Aum spokesman Hiroshi Araki, who attended Sunday's handover, apologized to the village for causing trouble and said: "Children have no faults. It's the responsibility of the cult that caused problems in the past."

"AUM vacates 2 buildings in Saitama village"

(Kyodo News Service, August 20, 2000)

URAWA, Japan, Aug. 20 (Kyodo) - Members of the AUM Shinrikyo cult on Sunday morning vacated two buildings in the village of Tokigawa in Saitama Prefecture.
Nine people -- including the twin daughters of a 39-year-old former senior AUM female member -- had been living in one of the buildings since 1998.
The village has decided to purchase the facility from AUM for 45 million yen.
The group members agreed with village officials earlier this year to decamp from the facility by Aug. 20 as a condition for allowing the 6-year-old twins to attend an elementary school in the municipality for one semester from April.
Local residents had reportedly opposed allowing the girls to attend school in their village.
Three of the AUM members and the two girls tried to register their residences with the city of Hasuda in the prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Aug. 1 but were rejected.
Cult spokesman Hiroshi Araki said during Sunday's pullout, ''The children are innocent. This current situation is due entirely to problems caused by the religious group in the past. We are sorry to have caused such a nuisance'' to the village.
AUM, which renamed itself Aleph in January, is accused of a number of crimes, including the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing that caused 12 deaths and injured more than 5,000.

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Revised last: 23-08-2000