TOKYO, April 10 -- A former spokesman for the dalai lama denied that a special relationship exists between Tibet's spiritual leader and the Aum Supreme Truth, which is accused of carrying out the March 20 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 11 and injured more than 5,000. 'It is true that (the) Rev. (Shoko) Asahara and some of his followers called on His Holiness the dalai lama in India but there is no truth whatsoever of any special relationship between them,' said Pema Gyalpo, who served as spokesman for the dalai lama for the Asia-Pacific region between 1976 and 1990.
'Since 1992, there has been a deliberate disassociation between them,' he said. Gyalpo added that he had not been the intermediary who introduced the two religious leaders, as has been reported in the Japanese media. 'I have no personal connection with the Aum Supreme Truth, although I have been the subject of bitter criticism from Asahara's followers.' The dalai lama visited Japan for nine days shortly after the subway attack occurred. The dalai lama admitted knowing Asahara and said that his Tibetan government-in-exile was receiving financial support from Aum. However, the dalai lama criticized the Aum Supreme Truth for an unhealthy reliance on its leader, hinting that Aum was more of a cult than a religion. The Japanese government allowed the dalai lama to enter the country despite protests from China. China accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile in India, of being a politician who is trying to sabotage China's unity by pushing for Tibetan independence.