Japanese sarin victim hired by spinoff of Aum Shinrikyo

A victim of the deadly 1994 Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack in Matsumoto, Japan, was recently hired by a spinoff branch of the cult to conduct surveys and hold informational meetings with its members.

Yoshiyuki Kono, a 61-year-old man whose wife spent years in a coma and eventually died after inhaling the poison, was hired by former Aum mouthpiece Fumihiro Joyu, the leader of the sect called Hikari no Wa, or the Circle of Rainbow Light, according to JapanTimes.co.jp.

Kono was initially suspected of being involved in the 1994 attack and was under media and law enforcement pressure. No arrests were made in the case until after the 1995 Aum sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Along with Kono, the spinoff sect has also recruited a Shinto priest and an academic to act as inspectors.

"I want to see with my own eyes what Hikari no Wa is actually doing by joining the group myself," Kono said, JapanTimes.co.jp reports. "I wish to serve as a bridge" for concerned citizens living near the group's facilities.

Japan’s Public Security Intelligence Agency recently announced that the group would remain under state surveillance for another three years, claiming fears that the condemned cult founder Shoko Asahara retains a strong influence over the group.

The Circle of Rainbow light argued that hiring its panel of investigators should have been enough to have the state end its surveillance activities.