Day 21: April 11 --Aum Kids Not Allowed in Public Schools

Yamanashi Prefecture's board of education made it clear today that Aum children will not be allowed to attend public primary or middle schools. The board claimed that this was not religious discrimination because allowing these children into the schools would "influence the educational environment of local children." The village of Kamikuishikimura has long been at odds with the religious group, refusing to let them register as residents or use public toilets.

The Osaka Bar association is considering possible disciplinary action against Aum's lawyer Yoshinobu Aoyama. The basis for this action is his filing of lawsuits on behalf of Aum Supreme Truth that are viewed as having no merit.

The police arrested another Aum member on suspicion of abducting and confining her father. Arrest warrants are issued for four other members.

Day 22: April 12 -- More Arrests Made

Police arrested Tomomitsu Niimi, Aum's Home Affairs Minister on charges of confining a sect member who had tried to leave the cult. The police announced that they have about 90 Aum members under arrest and are grilling them. Most of these people have been arrested for trespassing or interfering with police duties, but other charges include traffic and parking violations, failing to have vehicle inspection papers, violations of building codes, violation of the Firearms and Swords Law, and confinement. The police have made no arrests on charges relating to either the March 20th gassings or the kidnapping of Takeshi Matsumoto, which was the pretense given for the first of the massive police raids.

Day 23: April 13 -- Any Law Necessary

Police say that they will apply any law necessary to investigate the Aum group. This was born out as police continued to arrest Aum members for traffic and parking violations. The police use these arrests to confiscate the vehicles and search the residences of those arrested. Another member was arrested for not having filed the necessary paperwork for a greenhouse he built several years ago.

Police arrested Kiyohide Nakada, an ex-yakuza boss and current Aum executive on suspicion of blackmail after he appeared an a TV Asahi program. Nakada allegedly demanded several hundred thousand yen in compensation from an unidentified Nagoya man after a business deal between them went bad.

Police say they may bring wiretapping charges against Aum Shinri Kyo. The complaints were originally filed in September 1994, but no action has been taken at this point.

Day 24: April 14 -- Police Take the Children

The police launched their largest series of raids to date. Over 5,000 officers raided 120 locations throughout Japan. However, police have yet to find any sarin or evidence directly linking Aum to the March 20th subway attack.

The police took 53 of the 101 children living in the Kamikuishikimura compound into protective custody. Authorities provided no explanation of why only 53 were taken or how they were selected. An Aum source stated "They seemed to just grab whichever children were close by, and when the bus was full, they took them away."

[ Most of the sundry justifications they gave made some sense, but never quite added up. The police claimed that the children were malnourished but, no doctors were present, the children were not examined, and the police made no attempt to determine which children, if any, were actually suffering for malnutrition. Any why were half the children left behind?

Another justification given was that some of the children in the facility were actually children of those who had left the cult. However, the police seem to have made no attempt to identify any of the children, and many of them were screaming for their mothers who the police were holding back as they took the children away. The police cited no legal reason for taking the children-- TR ]

The police stated that they will return the children after they can confirm that the parents are living in the compound. They have given no time frame for this nor have they explained the procedure.

Day 25: April 15 -- Police Will Keep the Children

The police have determined that eight of the 53 children they took from the Kamikuishikimura Aum facility were suffering from malnutrition or other ailments. These eight were hospitalized. The police today changed their position of the return of the children saying that even if their parents are identified, the authorities will not return any of the children until they can be "absolutely certain they will be well cared for." Since most of the children are in good health, it is unclear exactly what the police mean by this. [ It seems that Aum believers have little hope of seeing their children anytime soon, as police are not even permitting them to visit the children. -- TR ]

The Foreign and Justice Ministries are debating revoking the passports of all top Aum officials. Japanese law states that the passports of those convicted of a crime punishable by two or more years in jail or those against whom the police have arrest warrant can have their passports revoked. Most Aum leaders do not fall into either category, but a special exception may be made for them.

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