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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 11:45 GMT
Japan cult 'to compensate victims'
Rescue workers
Twelve people died in the gas attack
Japan's Aum Shinrikyo cult, which was behind the deadly 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack, says it has set up a computer business to compensate its victims.

Twelve people died and more than 5,000 were injured when Aum members released sarin gas during morning rush hour.

We hope to boost our efforts in raising funds to compensate our victims

Aum statement
The cult, which has changed its name to Aleph - the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet - says it is now a benign religious group.

On Tuesday, the group said 21 followers had set up a software company in Tokyo in August and planned to start operations this month.

"By running a company, we hope to boost our efforts in raising funds to compensate our victims," Aum said in a statement.

Before it renounced violence, Aum Shinrikyo earned millions of dollars from computer companies. Police investigations following the 1995 attack revealed the group had supplied software to the police and defence agencies as well as a number of prominent Japanese companies.

Pay outs

Several cult members have been sentenced to hang for their part in the subway attack.

Shoko Asahara remains the cult's guiding figure
Cult founder Shoko Asahara is in jail
Aum founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has been in custody since May 1995 while his trial on multiple charges, including murder and masterminding the subway attack, continues.

In December 1999 the group admitted its role in the gassing. Since then it has paid $2.45m (303.5 million yen) in compensation to its victims, said Tuesday's statement.

The group also said it was working to help the victims of the 11 September terror attacks in New York and Washington.

"We are urging our followers and former followers to cooperate and do their utmost in donating money and relief products", the statement said.

See also:

19 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Anthrax recalls Tokyo's time of terror
13 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan cult to stay under surveillance
13 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan warns of cult internet boom
06 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aum member jailed for murder
20 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Cult apologises for death gas attack
26 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cult revival
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