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TMCNet:  AUM bankruptcy procedures to end, victims get 40% of compensation+

[November 26, 2008]

AUM bankruptcy procedures to end, victims get 40% of compensation+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Nov. 26_(Kyodo) _ Bankruptcy procedures for AUM Shinrikyo have effectively ended, but victims of the 1995 sarin gas attacks on Tokyo's subway system and other crimes by cult members have received only 40 percent of the compensation that they should have been paid, the receiver said Wednesday.

The victims will also receive up to 30 million yen each from the central government depending on their degree of suffering under a relief law set to take effect Dec. 18.

At the meeting of the victims and other creditors Wednesday, the receiver and lawyer Saburo Abe told them AUM has paid 1.54 billion yen, or 40 percent of what should have been paid.

According to Abe, AUM, which renamed itself Aleph in 2000, has a total of 5.16 billion yen in debts, of which 3.81 billion yen is compensation to the victims.

"It was an unprecedented case of receivership for a terrorist group but I am pleased that we have come this far," Abe said.

"Although this may not be sufficient, I believe we have served a role to a certain degree," said Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Samura at the Tokyo District Court that oversees the bankruptcy procedures.

Meanwhile, Shizue Takahashi, representative of the Tokyo sarin attack victims, said, "I hope this will not make AUM members think their responsibilities have been fulfilled."

Kenji Utsunomiya, the chief lawyer supporting the victims of the sarin attack, said, "It took 12 years and eight months since the cult was declared insolvent. The receiver has put top priority on relief for the victims, but full payment should be made for this incident in which many are still suffering from the aftereffects and the families are suffering from the loss of the deceased."

On Wednesday, Aleph said on its website, "We will sincerely respond to the victims including the payment of debts our group has taken over and assume our ethical responsibility."

Since AUM was declared bankrupt in March 1996, Abe and others have worked to collect the cult's assets and pay the compensation to the victims.

But the payment has been behind since the cult no longer possesses major assets partly because the group split into two groups.

Abe thus called on the central government to shoulder the unpaid compensation and the relief law was passed by the Diet in June this year.

The law covers about 4,000 victims in eight crimes committed by AUM, including the 1994 sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and the 1989 murder of anti-AUM lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family, in addition to the attacks on the Tokyo subway system, in which 12 people were killed and more than 5,500 made ill.

Copyright ? 2008 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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