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Daughter of AUM Shinrikyo leader Asahara cuts ties with parents, removed as heir

The fourth daughter of Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as AUM Shinrikyo cult leader Shoko Asahara, right, speaks during a news conference with her attorney Taro Takimoto in Tokyo on Nov. 21, 2017. (Mainichi)

The fourth daughter of AUM Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara, the latter who remains on death row over the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, revealed on Nov. 21 that a court has allowed her to be removed as her parents' heir.

The decision by the Yokohama Family Court was dated Oct. 31. In a news conference in Tokyo, the 28-year-old daughter of Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, said she had wanted to sever her relations with her parents.

"I have been away from my family since January 2006, and was completely separated from belief (in AUM Shinrikyo) since around the autumn of 2007," the daughter said. She said that she was aged around 5 or 6 at the time her parents and other executives of the cult were arrested.

"From time I was around 2 or 3, I lived by myself in a room like a storehouse, with no windows. After my brother was born and I went into my mother's room, she turned me away, saying, 'There's no longer any room for you here.' Both now and in the past, I never thought of my father as a dad. When I was born, my father was already a 'sect leader' and a 'guru.' I never once called him 'dad,'" she said.

Taro Takimoto, a lawyer representing the daughter, told the news conference that she had applied in December 2015 to be removed as an heir. Neither Matsumoto nor his wife objected to her request, and they did not appear at a hearing the family court had scheduled between August and September this year.

In its latest decision, the family court determined that the woman's parents had acted with "gross misconduct." The court said that the woman had been greatly disadvantaged from being abused by Matsumoto and being forced by her mother to maintain belief in his cult.

The woman said she had been made to eat omelets with pieces of a broken pot in them, and was forced to stand outside in the cold in light clothing for hours. She said she felt her life threatened by her father's orders many times. From the ages of around 8 to 10, after her parents were arrested, other cult adherents made her wear headgear 24 hours a day and for days at a time her only food was rice gruel with eggs, she said, adding that her growth was stunted and she could put her fingers in the spaces between her ribs.

The woman said she was practically banned from watching TV, while her father's video tapes were played 24 hours a day, and there was no television reception. She was also made to get in scalding baths of 45 or 46 degrees Celsius, and lost consciousness one time after being held in when she tried to get out.

"I was scared of being killed if I resisted," she said.

"What I want to say most now is that I want a system under which children can cut their ties with their parents if there are marked problems," she said. "I'm grateful to my parents for giving birth to me, but I don't think I owe them anything when it comes to raising me."

She added that she believes the death penalty handed down on her father should be carried out.

"Considering the weight of my father's crimes, I don't think there is any way for him to take responsibility but for the death penalty to be carried out," she said.

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