Aum Shinrikyo in the News
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AUM Shinrikyo formally split
As expected, AUM Shrinikyo — the Japanese cult known for its 1995 Sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway — has officially split.
Fumihiro Joyu, former spokesman and later one of the leaders of the group, has formally left AUM Shrinrikyo in order to form a new organization.
AUM Shinrikyo leader Fumihiro Joyu said Thursday he has formally left the doomsday cult along with his followers and plans to set up a new organization in April or May to signal his intention of fully leaving the influence of AUM founder Shoko Asahara.
But the Public Security Intelligence Agency said it will closely monitor Joyu’s group, with its official saying the agency believes Joyu is still under Asahara’s influence.
AUM, which renamed itself Aleph in 2000, has been divided between Joyu’s group which is critical of Asahara and another group supportive of him.
Speaking at a press conference, Joyu, 44, said the move is aimed at promoting his group’s resolve to leave the influence of Asahara, who is currently on death row for the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system that left 12 people dead and other crimes committed by AUM.
“We’ll urge (Asahara) to repent (for the crimes) until the last moment before the death penalty is executed,” Joyu said.
“We’ll disclose as much information as possible about our new group and show that we’re not under the influence of the death row inmate Matsumoto,” Joyu said, referring to Asahara’s real name Chizuo Matsumoto.
Joyu, widely known as a former AUM spokesman, gave the press conference after his group late Wednesday notified Naruhito Noda, 40, who is expected to head the cult, that a total of 65 members would leave it, of whom 58 are expected to join Joyu’s group, according to group members.
Aleph now has some 400 live-in and 690 lay members.
The Joyu group and the other faction have been using different facilities and financial resources since the spring of last year.
– Source: Joyu Group Leaves AUM to Form New Organization, Kyodo News Service, Japan, Mar. 8, 2007
Fumihiro’s move has been expected since late 2005:
The Japanese sect which released Sarin gas into Tokyo’s subway system and killed 12 people in 1995 is trying to give itself a makeover in the hope of attracting new members.
But hard-line elements within the sect oppose abandoning the core teachings upon which the group was founded.
The Aum Supreme Truth cult is split due to intensifying rivalry between members supporting its current leader, Fumihiro Joyu, and followers of its founder, Chizuo Matsumoto, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
According to sources, supporters of the 42-year-old Joyu and fundamentalist members who keep faith with Matsumoto, 50, are trying to win support from other Aum members to gain ascendancy. Matsumoto, commonly known as Shoko Asahara, was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court last year.
– Source: 2 Aum camps vying for ascendancy, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan, Nov. 1, 2005
Two rival factions of the religious cult known formerly as AUM Shinrikyo plan to hold separate seminars for lay followers from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, intelligence authority sources said Sunday.
AUM “representative” Fumihiro Joyu, 43, has been distancing himself from the cult’s operations since October 2003, but at the seminar he will hold plans to preach for the first time in two and a half years, they said.
– Source: Rival AUM Factions to Hold Separate Seminars, Kyodo News Service, Japan, Dec. 25, 2005
The religious cult formerly known as AUM Shinrikyo and now called Aleph may be on the verge of breaking up, after leader Fumihiro Joyu told its believers it would be difficult to bridge the gaps between the pro- and anti-Joyu groups within the sect, informed sources said Wednesday.
– Source: AUM Cult Thought to Be Heading Toward Split, Kyodo News Service, Japan, May 10, 2006
Fumihiro Joyu, leader of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, said Thursday he and his followers are considering abandoning educational materials that promote the personality cult of AUM founder Shoko Asahara, as part of their efforts to emerge from Asahara’s shadow.
Joyu, 43, said in an interview with Kyodo News that the materials he has in mind include photos and videotapes of the former guru and that he and his group members plan to sort out the items to be ditched and decide when to do so by the end of November.
“To break away from the former leader, we’ll advance reform of our educational materials, and make the changes visible by February next year,” Joyu said at the cult’s premises in Tokyo.
– Source: Aum Shinrikyo Cult Head Joyu to Dump Materials That Lead to Asahara Worship, Kyodo News Service, Japan, Oct. 26, 2006