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Aum Shinrikyo – Supreme Truth

Written by Dr. Ely Karmon and Yael Shahar

A cult established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara, Aum aims to take over Japan and then the world; its organizational structure mimics that of a nation-state, with “ministries” and a “pope secretariat.” Followers are controlled by a mix of charismaticism and coercion.

Approved as a religious entity in 1989 under Japanese law, the group was active in local Japanese elections in 1990. Disbanded as a religious organization under Japanese law in October 1995, but in 1997 a government panel decided not to invoke the Anti-Subversive Law against the cult, which would have outlawed the sect.

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