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Aum Shinri-kyo and Related Controversies

"Nagoya ward accepts residence of regional AUM leader"

(Kyodo News Service, September 30, 2000)

NAGOYA, Sept. 30 (Kyodo) - Nagoya's Nishi Ward has accepted an application for residence in the ward filed by a 42-year-old female leader of AUM Shinrikyo's Nagoya branch, ward officials said Saturday.
The woman in mid-September submitted the application to move into the ward to live in a house suspected to belong to an AUM member. Such applications are required when people move from one municipality to another.
In late August the ward rejected a similar request by two female AUM members to move into a building in the ward on the grounds that accepting the application would intensify anxiety among local residents.
The officials explained that during the examination of the woman's application, the address of her future residence was confirmed to be different from that of the other AUM members' application.

"Yokohama evicts AUM stragglers"

("Mainichi Shimbun," September 22, 2000)

YOKOHAMA - AUM Shinrikyo stragglers who remained in an apartment that the death cult was ordered to leave were forcibly evicted here Thursday morning. The cult's eviction left residents of the area feeling a sense of relief that a deadly threat had finally been eradicated.
"It's really great that they'll no longer be around. There'll finally be quiet in this town again," said a 70-year-old woman who lives nearby.
The Yokohama District Court had ordered AUM to vacate the premises on Sept. 6 after a residents union demanded that the cult be evicted.
However, AUM appealed to the Tokyo High Court, calling the decision unfair.
Some 20 people from the residents union, lawyers and court officials entered the apartment around 9 a.m. on Thursday where they found three remaining female acolytes.
"This is a forced eviction. Please remove all your belongings within half an hour," said a court officer.
A visibly shaken Eiko Takahashi, the leader of AUM's Yokohama chapter, pleaded for more time. But to no avail.
"We want you to wait about another month," she told the officials.
Most of the AUM members, including cult mouthpiece Fumihiro Joyu, vacated the apartment in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday. They moved to the group's complex in Tokyo's Adachi-ku.
Officials said that an altar remained in the room, but other objects such as computers and documents had all been moved to the cult's Adachi-ku complex.
A water-filled drum canister, about 1 meter in height, supposedly imbued with the electromagnetic waves of cult guru Shoko Asahara, remained in a corner of the room.
Cult members dipped PET bottles into the can, swilling the water happily, while court officials conducted the eviction proceedings.
When officials approached the altar to remove it from the premises, the acolytes screamed at them to stop.
Cult members were later seen hurriedly loading their belongings onto trucks.
Hitoshi Shiga, head of the residents union was elated that their fight to evict the cult was finally over.
"It took so long, but I really feel that it's truly over now," he said.
Meanwhile, in a related development, members of the Adachi Municipal Government announced at a news conference on Thursday that they would refuse to register Joyu as a resident of the ward.
Officials summoned the landlord of the Adachi-ku apartment on Thursday, demanding that Joyu's lease be canceled.
"We'll continue to fight until we get them removed," said a municipal government spokesperson.

"Released AUM member shifts back to Tokyo"

("Mainichi Shimbun," September 21, 2000)

YOKOHAMA - AUM Shinrikyo mouthpiece Fumihiro Joyu on Wednesday for the first time left the Yokohama apartment he has been cooped up in since his release from prison in December last year, police said. Leaving the apartment in the early hours of the morning, Joyu headed for an AUM apartment in Tokyo's Adachi-ku, moving even closer to the scene of the death cult's deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12, sickened thousands and left millions shaking in fear for their safety.
Eleven members of the cult living in the building are registered with the Adachi Municipal Government as ward residents. Municipal government officials said they would refuse to register any more members of the cult as ward residents and appear likely to turn down any application Joyu might make.
Public safety officials also visited the Adachi-ku apartment in July to check whether the cult was doing anything suspicious.
Joyu left behind other cult members in the three-story Yokohama cult complex, where they will continue to fight an eviction order handed down by the Yokohama District Court earlier this month.
Hitoshi Shiga, head of the residents' union at the AUM-occupied apartment in Yokohama, welcomed Joyu's departure.
"We're delighted a crucial member of the cult has left," Shiga said. "But until all the members of the cult have left, we still have a problem."
Joyu left Hiroshima Prison on Dec. 29 and immediately headed to the apartment AUM was renting in Yokohama. He did not leave it until Wednesday. Recently, he has been seen tanning himself on a balcony and is believed to have been keeping in shape by using a treadmill.
On Sept. 6, the Yokohama District Court ordered AUM to vacate the apartment complex. About a week later, it appealed to the Tokyo High Court, saying that the decision was unfair.

"Court removes belongings from former AUM office"

(Kyodo News Service, September 21, 2000)

YOKOHAMA, Sept. 21 (Kyodo) - Officials of the Yokohama District Court on Thursday morning removed belongings left behind at a condominium in Yokohama vacated the previous day by the AUM Shinrikyo cult.
The court on Sept. 6 ordered the cult to evacuate the room, which served as the group's Yokohama branch since 1989, in line with demands by the building's residents.
Around 30 people consisting of court officials and lawyers for local residents arrived at the site in Yokohama's Naka Ward at around 9 a.m. to carry out the court order.
However, since the cult had already moved out, the officials were only able to remove some curtains and a refrigerator from the room.
The AUM office was the home of Fumihiro Joyu, a senior cult member who was released from prison in Hiroshima last December after completing a three-year jail sentence for perjury, and served as the virtual headquarters of the religious cult.
After moving out of the apartment Wednesday, Joyu, 37, relocated to a building in Tokyo's Adachi Ward.

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Revised last: 1-10-2000