January 18, 2000
#Outlook on the AUM-related Incidents and Outline of Drastic Reform
Outlook on the Aum-related Incidents
The reason why I, Joyu, take charge of announcing the view of our religious
organization is, I thought, that as the one who had announced our views
on the incidents since the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack, I should publicly
correct the wrong views that I have made in the past. Not exactly as a
person responsible for the present organization (neither controlled nor
protected by law), but as a board member of the former religious organization,
I thought it is my responsibility to make an apology and to explain what
we are going to do about the incidents.
*Fact finding of the Aum-related incidents
Since December 1st of 2000 when we apologized in public for the Aum Shinrikyo-related
incidents, we have continued looking into the incidents very carefully.
As our present organization consists of those who were not directly involved
in the incidents, our understanding of the incidents varies from person
to person. However, as it became possible for us to directly contact a
number of high-profile leaders of the former organization who are still
in police custody, we have advanced in fact finding process and have become
able to evaluate the incidents.
In the mean time, the involvement in the incidents of
former Aum Shinrikyo followers became evident through trials and confessions
by the accused ex-followers. Consequently, steering members of the present
organization, who are board members (choro-bu) and the section leaders,
have unanimously agreed that the former Aum Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara
had been involved in the incidents, though they refrain from concluding
his criminal liability because he is being still tried in the court.
We could say that former Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara
was a kind of genius in meditation, but at the same time we cannot approve
of the incidents his organization caused. While inheriting the superior
practices of Yoga and Buddhism, and the meditation method his Yoga talent
has left, we'd like to clearly disapprove of the incidents.
We once again deeply apologize to the victims and bereaved
families in the incidents. As ones who once belonged to the same religious
organization, we deeply feel responsible for the outcome of the incidents.
Considering what we have done in the past, I believe we have to reform
the organization drastically.
Outline of Drastic Reform
*Setting up a liaison committee for promotion of compensation
on Aum-related cases
We decided to set up a liaison committee for promoting compensation for
the damages inflicted upon in the Aum-related incidents, and carry out
necessary measures to deal with the outcomes of the incidents caused by
the former organization, such as compensation to victims, support to accused
followers and so on.
Following this decision, we agreed to transfer some of
our properties to Aum Shinrikyo, which is responsible for compensation.
And marking this as a start point, we also agreed to the plan to use a
certain portion of the followers' income for compensation. Thus we are
taking a further step to make as much compensation as possible.
Also, other than financial compensation, we started sending
apology letters to the victims and bereaved family members in the incidents,
paying much attention not to disturb them. W also think that it is also
our duty to pay each of them a visit.
During the course of the discussion as to how to deal
with the incidents and their consequences, we went as far as to consider
the dissolution of the organization or quitting missionary work. However,
we decided to carry out drastic reform rather than to resolve the organization.
The reasons are three fold: (1) the dissolution of the organization would
mean abandoning the responsibility for compensation (avoidance of compensation);
(2) it will also confuse the process of making the new laws targeting
us (avoidance of new laws); (3) despite the incidents that should be disapproved
of, the practice of yoga has been proved to be beneficial to members,
and the guidance and instruction of yoga will become a source of income
for compensation. Therefore we decided to reform our organization drastically
rather than dissolving the organization.
Until today, we have proposed to transfer seven properties
to the bankruptcy administrator for Aum Shinrikyo. Those include properties
in (1) Kawakami-mura, Nagano prefecture, (2) Saku-machi, Nagano prefecture
(3) Fureai no Sato, in Tokigawa-mura, Saitama prefecture, (4) Mr. Ishii's
house in Tokigawa-mura, Saitama prefecture (5) Fukiage-machi, Saitama
prefecture, (6) Minamiaiki-mura, Nagano prefecture, and (7) Otawara-shi,
Tochigi prefecture. They are worth over 100 million yen. The list includes
properties, which once belonged to followers. For the compensation, they
voluntarily transferred the ownership to the bankruptcy administrator.
*Note: For some properties [in (4) and (7)], we are requesting
for a one-year determent of withdrawal.
* Outline of the new order after drastic reform
Based on our reflections upon the incidents, we would like to drastically
reform our religious organization as follows:
 We will change our name and representative, and will
make sure again to discard some parts of the teaching.
We will change our name from "Aum Shinrikyo"
to "Aleph". After the reform has completed, I, acting representative,
will take the responsibility of the organization as representative. This
means former representative Shoko Asahara will no longer represent the
The new organization will not have a guru, and the position
of founder Asahara will be confined to the subject of meditation. Since
he will be regarded only as a spiritual existence, he will not be in the
position to give orders to the followers. We define Lord Shiva and Buddhas
as the fundamental subjects of our adoration. In our context, a guru means
an interpreter of scriptures. There have been a lot of gurus in the past
and we do not define guru as the unique and absolute being.
Concerning the scriptures and teaching materials of the
new organization, we will make new ones based on the teachings of Hindu
Yoga, Early Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism that former representative
Shoko Asahara interpreted. These will constitute the basic doctrine. On
the other hand, we will abandon the parts of the teachings that are considered
dangerous and told related to the incidents and disapprove of its exercise.
To make our policy clear, we will produce a new doctrine and have it deeply
rooted in each of us.
 Inaugurating the new order based on the purposes and
objectives mentioned above, we will request each follower to fill in and
submit a new admission form and a written oath. In the written oath, every
member of the new organization must swear clearly that he/she will abide
by the laws and that he/she will never exercise the killing or injuring
of people, to say nothing of indiscriminant mass murder. It also bans
engaging in unlawful activities, even if former representative Shoko Asahara
should order him/her to do.
 From the viewpoint of the drastic reform, we would
like to start from ground zero and reconsider what the branch system should
be like in the future.
 As for the reformation of the domestic system, we
will abolish Choro-bu or a closed board member system by a limited number
of top leaders. Instead, the executive board, which consists of nearly
ten members entrusted by tens of the different section leaders, will take
over the function of Choro-bu system. That way we will avoid the power
concentration to the top members and to ease the process of the merge
and abolition of redundant sections.
 To completely cut off the new organization from the
incidents, we will prohibit communication with any former members who,
though involved in a grave crime, have not yet expressed repentance.
During a raid in September of 1999, the police confiscated
research documents on poison gas and later reported it in public. The
documents were collected at the request of accused followers and their
lawyers in use for their trials. Lest the people misunderstand us, we
will quit collecting such documents from now on.
*Application of the Aum-specific laws
The present organization poses no threat, and the new laws specifically
targeting Aum Shinrikyo are highly unconstitutional. However, if the application
was decided and the inspections into us were carried out, the third party,
we think, would prove our organization safe and sound. Having said that,
we also fear that our human rights could be seriously trampled upon depending
on how the laws are utilized. One of the worst cases imaginable would
be that they request us to hand in the list of the names and addresses
of most followers including lay practitioners. If this kind of thing happens,
the life of lay practitioners could be destroyed. Although it is irrational
to think this way, but should this kind of thing happen, we will be in
The executive board has discussed and come up with this view elaborated
above in a few days ago. It has already explained the outline of the view
to its monks and nuns and has just begun to explain it to the lay followers.
Although we have not yet consulted with former representative Shoko Asahara,
who has resigned as representative and leader of the organization, we
will report our view to him and request his understanding if any opportunity
arises. We also would like him to announce his opinion or something about
the responsibility as then Aum Shinrikyo leader because he admitted at
least the involvement of Aum Shinrikyo in the incidents, though he still
keeps silent concerning his involvement.