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Cult Leader’s Prediction Of Quake Spurs Fear Of Attack

Thu., April 13, 1995

Shoko Asahara, Japan’s best-known prophet of doom, says the end of the world as we know it will come by the year 2000.

And, for skeptics with a shorter attention span, he says this Saturday an earthquake will hit Tokyo.

“The master says there is a very good possibility of a major earthquake in Tokyo April 15, based on his reading of astrology,” Satoshi Nagayama, a spokesman for the Aum Shinri Kyo cult, said Wednesday.

“We might very well die,” he said.

Though even Nagayama said he isn’t planning to leave town, Asahara’s prophecy of a disaster in Tokyo this weekend has been receiving a good deal of attention because his cult has been linked to sarin, the nerve gas that killed 11 people and sickened thousands more last month on the capital’s subways.

More than 90 of Asahara’s followers, including some of his confidantes, have been arrested since that attack in what has become Japan’s biggest criminal investigation.

Asahara has been in hiding since the attack, and didn’t appear in public to make his earthquake prediction. It’s in his most recent book, which was released March 2.

Though Asahara’s prophecy is clearly of an earthquake, rumors have circulated that the cult might in fact be planning some sort of attack.

Tags: terrorism

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