Aum Shinri Kyo followers defy order to quit cult's buildings
At least 200 followers of Aum Shinri Kyo are thought to remain at the doomsday cult's facilities throughout the country despite an eviction order to abandon the premises.
Finding new homes for the followers is a growing problem for the authorities. Outcasts in Japanese society, most of them have no homes to return to and little chance of finding jobs to support themselves.
Many remain faithful to the cult and its leader, Asahara Shoko, who is charged with murder and other crimes.
The eviction order came from a court-appointed receiver who is trying to raise cash to pay off claims of more than 5.09 billion yen (HK$357.83 million) pending against the cult.
Compensation claims from victims of gas attacks and from relatives of those the cult allegedly murdered make up the bulk of the debt.
Aum Shinri Kyo's assets have been valued at only 1.31 billion yen.
As part of the recoupment, a bizarre garage sale was held on Sunday near the cult's main facility in Kamikuishiki village in Yamanashi prefecture. Television sets, toilet seats, fans and other possessions once belonging to cultists were auctioned off by the receivers. More than 1,400 people spent 2.65 million yen on the goods.
Villagers carried items from the cult's facility to a local warehouse. Another sale is planned for this month.
The receiver, Saburo Abe, claims there are at least 200 followers remaining at the cult's two main facilities despite his eviction order.
A decision on how to dismantle the buildings and auction the premises despite the presence of the followers is pending. Villagers in Kamikuishiki were demanding that police evict the remaining cultists, despite the fact they have nowhere to go.