Features

Catching the wave

International | While China worries about SARS, Japan keeps watch for Pana Wave.

Issue: "Memorial Day 2003," May 24, 2003

While China worries about SARS, Japan keeps watch for Pana Wave. It isn't a disease; it's a cult.

This once-obscure group travels the Japanese countryside in an all-white caravan, with members trying to escape electromagnetic waves generated by power lines. As many as 1,200 people may belong to the cult.

Few knew of the group until it staged a standoff with authorities this month. About 30 cultists set up camp on a mountain road until police threatened to arrest them.

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The group's leader, self-proclaimed prophetess Yuko Chino, predicts cataclysmic changes soon as a 10th planet approaches Earth, bringing earthquakes, tidal waves, and other disasters.

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