#What do Influential People say about Aleph?

“There is no danger at all that Aleph would commit terror attack again” : vice-Minister of Justice Masaaki Yokouchi.

Justice Ministry vice-Minister Masaaki Yokouchi, when asked about the future threat of Aleph, said that there is no possibility at all that Aum would engage in terrorism again in the future.

“In 1999 we enforced two laws and sterilized Aum Shinrikyo. There is no danger at all that Aleph would commit terror attack again.” (Yamanashi print of Mainichi, Nov. 2, 2001)

“Danger of Aleph has no reality” : Journalist Shoko Egawa

Journalist Shoko Egawa, who has long been reporting on trial sessions for Aum cases, said that the danger of Aleph, which is often said to be the source of the fear for neighboring residents, lacks reality as below. Her words are partly based on the fact that Aleph has removed dangerous part from its doctrine.

“The lecture texts that approve the act of killing have been removed from their doctrine. The police and officials of the Public Security Investigation Agency put Aleph followers under their surveillance. When I came to this apartment building the other day, two police officers were on duty, saying to each other ‘Here we are.’ Besides, Shoko Asahara is no longer in any situation to send orders to his disciples. I don’t think that under the circumstances, they can again produce sarin or guns secretly and murder many people indiscriminately. In this sense, the danger posed by Aleph has been reduced drastically to the extent that is incomparable to what it used to be. Danger that they would attack us and kill or hurt us has no reality any more.” (Egawa Shoko Journal, Dec. 27, 2001)

“Aum is no longer a dangerous criminal group” : Hitotsubashi University Professor Akira Fukuda

Hitotsubashi University Professor Akira Fukuda, an expert of criminal law and Aum issues, said as follow in one of his thesis entitled “Groundless De-nationalization of Aum Followers.”

”Mobilizing every possible criminal legal code and interpreting these laws as liberally as possible, they tried to criminalize many petty offenses on an unprecedented scale, including offenses, which could not be a crime. As a result, the crimes said to be caused by AUM Shinrikyo followers were investigated in the most detailed way; the present followers who remain in the organization are not concerned with AUM cases, much less with crime in general. Third, there is no physical and objective danger that the present AUM Shinrikyo organization would commit massive, indiscriminate or brutal crimes. The Public Security Investigation Agency does not even mention it. There is no possibility that the followers could produce, acquire or conceal poisons like sarin or any other weapon for that matter. Nor is there even the minutest evidence that they associate with a domestic or foreign army, or some dangerous terrorist group. ” (AUM SHINRIKYO AND HUMAN RIGHTS, SYZYGY: Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture)

“People claim that Aum is dangerous, but in fact they only feel it eerie” : Asahi Shinbun editor Ken’ichi Kohata

Asahi Shinbun editorial stuff Ken’ichi Kohata, who keeps attending trial sessions for Aum cases, said about the danger of Aleph in an interview that people are only expressing their fear in a very ambiguous way. He also mentioned the problem of the media.

”I think people are claiming day in and day out that Aum is dangerous. But in fact they only feel it eerie. What they think is: ’Aum is so weird that we have to do something about it.’ And no more than that. They no longer are facing any danger. They only repeat expressing their fear in an ambiguous way. The typical is the problem of computer software. The media released the news rather sensationally that Aum obtained important data. I wonder if Aum wanted to use it in a cyber terror or something. If so, it’s OK. But if it’s not, how dare can they make it a scoop like that? As a media person, I am very annoyed about that.”
(“Aum issues-what is questioned is not Aum but ourselves.”: Sekai, May of 2000 issue)

“Anti-Aum mood stirred up by the media and authorities” : Doshisha University Professor Ken’ichiro Asano

Doshisha University Professor Ken’ichiro Asano, who has been studying the media reports on Aum cases, attended the Upper House Judicial Affairs Committee in November of 1999. In that committee he pointed out that residents feel uneasy because the Public Security Investigation Agency intentionally announces and leaks information and then the media spread it out blindly.

”Here again I want to come back to the media problem. A set of two laws targeting Aum Shinrikyo were created on the pretext that many people feel uneasy that Aum Shinrikyo would repeat brutal crimes like Sarin Gas attack in 1995 and that because of it, it has many troubles with local residents across the country. But I really doubt that the theory of such Aum’s threat really exists.” (At the Upper House Judicial Affairs Committee, November 30, 1999)

“Public anxiety has been removed considerably” : Public Security Examination Commission member Kozo?Fujita

Mr. Kozo Fujita, a Public Security Examination Commission member, when ruling the application of the Aum specific law to Aleph in response to the request by the Public Security Investigation Agency, said, “After the application, I think, the public unrest has been considerably removed”, which was followed by his further comment as follow:

“The application of the law to Aleph was intended to remove the rampant public anxiety. Many of the followers joined Aleph because they find its doctrine comes home to them. If it becomes clear that they are not producing sarin but simply leading spiritual life as monks and nuns, the public anxiety will be removed and they can cohabit with local residents. Otherwise, the Aum problems will not be solved. I thought the surveillance of Aleph was necessary for that matter. And that’s why I said in the interview that I want every member of the society to cooperate to accept them.”

“There is no substance or indication that leads to the possibility of indiscriminant mass murder,” “We understand the state of Aleph in very detail. We think great portion of public unrest has been removed so far.”: The Public Security Investigation Agency

The Public Security Investigation Agency (PSIA) requested for the application of Aum specific law, which was created in late 1999 to restrict Aum's activities. Since February of 2000, the PSIA put Aleph under their surveillance and entered its facilities for inspection for more than thirty times. Findings were provided to local authorities on request and proved that the threat of Aleph is non-existence. The PSIA evaluates the investigations as a means to extinguish public unrest.

Early this year the Public Security Examination Commission ruled the application of the Aum specific law. Then the Public Security Investigation Agency (PSIA) entered 31 facilities for inspection for 38 times and reported to 23 local authorities. They found pictures and cassette tapes etc. of the former Aum Shinrikyo leader Chizuo Matsumoto, but nothing that leads to the possibility of indiscriminate mass murder. However, the PSIA stressed that because of the investigations, the public anxiety was removed considerably.
(Asahi, December 17, 2000)

“Investigations found no dangerous substance”: The PSIA

The Public Security Investigation Agency (PSIA) entered computer business facilities of the former Aum Shinrikyo (now Aleph) in the afternoon of September 18th and announced that they found a one-tatami-mat room in use for wearing headgears, but nothing that directly leads to the possibility of indiscriminant mass murder. The PSIA also said that the investigations at three facilities in Adachi in Tokyo, Asahimura in Ibaraki, and Yashio in Saitama prefectures ended without trouble.
(Mainich, February 19, 2000)

“Nothing found sufficient to ban Aleph ”: The PSIA

The Public Security Investigation Agency (PSIA) carried out an on-the-spot investigation at former Aum Shinrikyo (now Aleph) headquarters located in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture on September 14. Findings from the investigation were reported to Yokohama municipal government on September 16. In the investigation into the three-story building, with the attendance of four followers as witnesses, the PSIA officials found working space, followers’ private rooms, a training room with the altar covered with purple cloth which is located in the front. The PSIA said that there was no substance leading to preparation or a plot of indiscriminant mass murder and no evidence sufficient to ban Aleph’s activities. (Tokyo Shinbun, November 17, 2000)