Day 31: April 21 - No Protection Under the Law

In a news conference today, Tokyo governor elect Yukio Aoshima stated his support for disbanding Aum Shinri Kyo. "We need to take decisive measures, such as what was suggested by Mr. Yosano suggested, when it is made clear that the group is involved in antisocial activities." Aoshima said, "An antisocial organization does not deserve protection under the law."

[ Although "disbanded" is the term being used, it does not mean that Aum members will not be allowed to gather on their own. It refers to revoking the state's recognition of Aum as an official religion. This involves a great deal more than just loosing their tax-free status, however. It could also force the group to forfeit much of their property. I'll post more information on this as it becomes available. -- TR ]

Police added Shigeyuki Hasegawa's name to the nationwide most wanted list on suspicion of speeding on May 13 of last year.

Police said today that from the documents seized from nationwide Aum facilities and the chemical and mechanical equipment found there, that Aum has probably been producing firearms since the spring of 1994 and began experimental production of sarin around the same time. However, almost one month of raids on close to 200 Aum- related sites and over 200 arrests have not revealed sarin, a firearm, or a single round of ammunition.

[Related News]

Day 32: April 22 - Link to Subway Poisoning and Sarin at Disneyland

Police found a diethyl aniline residue inside the heat sealing device in Aum's Kamikuishiki compound. This organic solvent can be used to dissolve sarin, and is the same type that was discovered at some of the stations that were hit by the March 20th attack.

The device in question device if fully automatic and capable of measuring a liquid, inserting into a plastic bag, and then sealing it. The machine is commonly used in food packaging. Several bags similar to those used in the subway attacks were found at the compound several weeks ago.

The Baltimore Sun reported that a gas attack on Disneyland had been foiled. According to the paper, two Japanese men affiliated with Aum Shinri Kyo were arrested in Los Angeles International Airport with instructions on how to make sarin and a videotape detailing the attack. The FBI has refused comment on the case.

Day 33: April 23 - Police Retract Earlier Subway Link

Police today retracted an earlier announcement that they had detected acetanitril in the sarin residue in the subways. However, they did point out that yesterday's discovery of a diethyl aniline residue in a machine capable of making plastic bags like those found after the subway gassing provides a strong link between Aum Shinri Kyo and the attack.

[Related News]

Day 34: April 24 - Rifle Blueprints Found in Aum Car

Police announced that found blueprints for a Soviet AK rifle along with breachblocks, sights, hammers and levers in a car confiscated from a high-ranking Aum member suspected of trespassing in a parking garage on April6. The parts and plans were found hidden inside the left-rear door. [ The legitimacy of the trespassing charge remains highly questionable since one of the passengers of the car is the president of an Aum-affiliated company that has an office in the building. -- TR ]

After 33 days of continuous raids, the MPD today allowed local administrative authorities to begin searching the Aum compound in Kamikuishiki. Local authorities stated that they suspect Aum of being in violation of several local fire safety and building codes.

Day 35: April 25 - Move to Disband Aum Speeded Up

Education Minister Kaoru Yosono told reporters today that he will formally request that Aum be disbanded as soon as a key Aum member is indicted. If the court grants the petition, it will be the first time an active organization has been disbanded under the Religious Corporations Law.

The Daily Yomiuri today blasted television news coverage of the Aum investigation. The article stated that the news blitz was making the police investigation more difficult and causing confusion in Japanese society. It blasted the television media for giving Aum spokesmen air time, and "reporting Aum positions without sufficiently questioning them."

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