Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 29 December, 1999, 04:24 GMT
Doomsday cult leader released

joyu Joyu's release was covered live on television


By Juliet Hindell in Tokyo

The number two leader of Japan's Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult has been released from jail in Hiroshima.

Fumihiro Joyu had completed a three-year prison sentence for perjury and falsification of documents, but is now expected to assume leadership of the cult.

His release has caused a sensation in Japan with live television coverage of his journey from Hiroshima to Tokyo.


Shoko Asahara Shoko Asahara is still on trial over the Tokyo gas attack
More than 100 police surrounded the prison in Hiroshima in preparation for Joyu's release but there were even more journalists and TV cameras ready to catch the first glimpse of the Aum cult's second-in-command.

Joyu had become widely known in Japan as the charismatic public relations chief of the cult.

But he was in Russia at the time of Aum's sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo commuter trains. Twelve people died and 5,000 more became ill.

The cult's leader, Shoko Asahara, is still on trial in connection with the gassing and other crimes.

Joyu emerged from jail wearing a grey suit and looking pale and thin. Television cameras then followed his every move as he boarded a plane for Tokyo and tried to check in to a hotel.

The hotel refused him entry even to the lobby and Joyu was driven off to an undisclosed location in the capital.

Potential leader?

In a statement he said that he planned to return to the cult but that as he had just been released from prison he would not discuss his future. He said that he wanted to rest and ponder his plans.

But Joyu is widely expected to assume leadership of the cult which has only recently admitted some members were involved in the gas attack.

Two months ago the cult said it was suspending its activities. The return of Joyu may mean that it will become active once again.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Asia-Pacific Contents

Country profiles

See also:
26 Dec 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cult revival
23 Oct 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cultist sentenced to death
01 Oct 98 |  World
Sarin uncovered
25 Dec 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Japanese sect's nerve gas plant destroyed
26 May 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Life sentence for Japan's 'Dr Death'

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories