Hikari no Wa inspected; Aum guru images found

Public safety agents Thursday searched offices of a group that has recently split off from Aum Shinrikyo, the doomsday cult behind the deadly 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack.

The raid by the Public Security Intelligence Agency came a day after leader Fumihiro Joyu declared he had left Aum with 160 members to form a new sect that bans monotheistic belief, seeks spiritual healing and promotes positive contributions to society.

Joyu has claimed his group, Hikari no Wa (Ring of Light), had scorned the influence of Aum founder Shoko Asahara, but the agency found portraits of the guru at several of its facilities during the searches. One official said it indicates the new group is “still under Asahara’s influence.”

Investigators entered the Tokyo headquarters of the new group and about a dozen other facilities nationwide Thursday to scrutinize their activities.

The raid, based on a 1999 law on the surveillance of organizations feared to pose a threat to society, was part of the agency’s ongoing monitoring of the cult, the official said.

Despite the breakaway from Aum, the agency said Joyu’s group is also subject to surveillance under the law, and the group has complied with the agency’s policy.

– Source: Joyu-led splinter cult raided, Aum guru images found, The Japan Times, May 11, 2007