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Cult Leaders Get seven Years in Failed Faith Healing
Two Japanese members of a faith healing “cult” were sentenced to seven years each in prison for the deaths, through neglect, of a young boy and a baby, whose corpses were then allowed to mummify in the hope that they would come back to life.[csr 1.2 2002]

The Miyazaki District Court passed the sentence on Junichiro Higashi, 58, head of the private, “cult-style” Kaeda Juku school in Miyazaki, southwestern Japan, and Akemi Togashi, a 51-year-old female senior staff member of the school. [csr 1.2 2002]

Beliefs and Practices
The pair were found guilty of taking into their custody in December 1997 a six-year-old boy after promising his parents that they would cure his acute kidney problem without medication. During the trial, the prosecution said that the defendants tried to “exorcise the boy” with prayers, but that he died the following month. The parents demanded the return of the boy’s body, but the defendants locked it in a room at Higashi’s luxury villa, insisting that the boy would come back to life. [csr 1.2 2002]

The prosecution said that the defendants had blamed the boy’s illness on “karma” and barred the parents from using drugs or hospitals which they said were “full of evils.” The two were also found guilty of causing the death, through neglect, of a premature baby born at the school in 1999, by failing to provide necessary medical treatment to the infant, the ruling said. The bodies of both the six-year-old boy and the premature baby were found mummified. [csr 1.2 2002]

Higashi and Togashi abandoned and mummified the bodies “because the accused were afraid that if the bodies were discovered, they would lose the trust of their school pupils,” who believed Higashi had supernatural powers, the judge said. [csr 1.2 2002]

The case was the second involving a cult and mummified bodies in as many months. In February, the 63-year-old Japanese leader of Life Space was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a stroke victim who was bound [wrapped] as part of a “religious cure” and whose mummified body was found in a hotel in November 1999. (APF, 3/22/02, Internet) [csr 1.2 2002]

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