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Ex-Cult Member’s Appeal Rejected

February 10, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ A Japanese court today upheld the perjury and forgery convictions of a top figure in the doomsday cult blamed for the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

The Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal by Fumihiro Joyu, formerly a spokesman for the Aum Shinri Kyo cult and confidant of its guru, Shoko Asahara, of a three-year sentence handed down last March.

Joyu, 35, was convicted of conspiring with a cult attorney and other cult members to give false testimony and forge documents over a cult land deal in 1990.

His guru, Asahara, stands trial for murder and other charges in the March 1995 subway attack and another nerve gas attack in the central town of Matsumoto, 125 miles west of Tokyo, in June 1994.

Asahara has pleaded innocent to the deaths of 19 people killed in the two attacks. The victims died after inhaling or having skin contact with sarin, a poisonous gas.

A graduate of Tokyo’s elite Waseda University who once worked in Japan’s space program, Joyu’s involvement in the cult raised nationwide debate as to how it could have attracted some of Japan’s best and brightest young minds.

At its peak, the cult claimed 40,000 members worldwide.

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