Court orders government to hand cult founder’s remains to daughter

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A court ordered the government on Wednesday to hand over the hair and cremated remains of the executed Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara to his second daughter after a top court ruled in 2021 that she can take them into her possession.

The government had urged during the trial at the Tokyo District Court that the daughter’s request to have them handed over be rejected, stressing concerns that they could become objects of worship for followers of Aum Shinrikyo’s successor groups, including one known as Aleph.

The government said that based on talks between Justice Ministry officials and the daughter over the storage of the hair and ashes, she appears to anticipate and be tolerant of their use by the successor groups.

The daughter had argued it would be “impossible” for her to hand over the remains to anyone else, saying, “As his daughter, I just want to mourn quietly.”

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