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Friday, July 17, 2020, 11:00 - 12:00


"A Quarter Century since the Terrorist Attacks-Unchanged nature of Aum Shinrikyo"

Ayuko Watanabe, Director, First Division, Second Intelligence Department,

Public Security Intelligence Agency

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in English. 

Vimeo 1100

Japan's top intelligence agency warns that Aum Shinrikyo, the doomsday cult responsible for the deadly March 1995 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway, remains "dangerous," with steady membership and assets despite the court-ordered execution of guru Shoko Asahara and 12 members some two years ago.

Asahara's disciples released deadly sarin gas in crowded Tokyo trains, killing 13 people and injuring some 6,000. A dozen others were also killed in a smaller sarin attack and various crimes committed by the cult.

Aum has split into a few groups, but remained faithful to Asahara's apocalyptical teachings without major change in its combined membership. It has 1,650 followers in Japan and an unspecified number in Russia. In 2019, the Public Security Intelligence Agency said in its annual report that the cult’s assets were estimated at nearly 1.3 billion yen ($12 million) as of last October.

Established in 1952 under the Ministry of Justice, the agency engages in security and espionage focusing on far-left and far-right groups, the Japanese Communist Party, and the pro-Pyongyang Association of Ethnic Koreans. It has also kept Aum's followers under surveillance with frequent on-site inspections.

Ayuko Watanabe, who heads the agency's division dealing with international affairs, will speak on Aum's current status after a video presentation that will reviews the quarter century since the sarin attacks; she calls the cult "not merely a historical relic."

How to attend:

Please register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, name of media outlet, FCCJ membership number. Due to space restrictions, please note there will be a limited number of reservations to attend. Doors open at 10:30. Please have your temperature taken before proceeding. 

How to watch online: 

Livestreaming of the press events will be available and video of this event will be uploaded to our FCCJ YouTube channel.

How to ask questions:

Members watching the event online can submit questions for the speakers in advance using this submission form (English only).

TV crew: Please make a reservation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Door open for TV crews only at 10:15. There will be five positions available for livestreaming. 

Professional Activities Committee

Jul 17 20 PC Ayuko Watanabe013


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