Security agency raids Aum facilities

Tokyo, Japan - The Public Security Intelligence Agency began on-site inspections Monday of 26 facilities run by Aum Shinrikyo, whose members were involved in the fatal 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system and other crimes.

Mobilizing around 300 agency personnel in 13 prefectures, the agency checked 20 facilities linked to Aum's mainstream group, which has renamed itself Aleph, and six others belonging to a splinter group called Hikari no Wa (Circle of Rainbow Light).

According to the agency, Aleph acquired its largest facility in Tokyo's Adachi Ward for about ¥100 million in March last year and is now trying to attract young followers via the Internet and yoga courses by hiding the cult name.

The agency believes the two groups are still influenced by Shoko Asahara, 56, the Aum founder who is on death row.

The agency said it is necessary to comprehend the current situation regarding the two groups.