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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

20 Women Arrested for Cult Killing

TOKYO -- Police raided the headquarters of a religious sect in central Japan on Monday and arrested 20 women for allegedly beating a member to death, an official said.

Sushi restaurant owner Motoko Okuno, 63, died last month at the Kigenkai sect's headquarters in Komoro city, central Japan, allegedly after a mass beating, local news reports said.

Police arrested 20 women late Monday on suspicion of injury leading to Okuno's death, a city police official said.

The women included a girl as young as 15, and the oldest was 80, Kyodo News agency reported. Earlier Monday, television footage showed police officers streaming into the cult's headquarters to seize documents and question members.

Some news reports suggested that Okuno was killed as punishment for failing to carry out religious rites.

Kigenkai, founded in 1970, is based on Japan's indigenous Shinto religion and sells purified water the sect claims can cure diseases.