Since the Aum Shinrikyôô affair of 1995, the Japanese authorities have been quick to demonstrate that they are firmly in control in situations involving religious groups that espouse millennial ideas, or other groups rumored to be acting against social norms. In April 2003 the Japanese mass media began reporting intensely on a virtually unknown new religious movement named Pana Wave. A massive police investigation was launched immediately on the premise that the group appeared to resemble Aum Shinrikyôô in its early days. Although the press coverage and police involvement again raised the public's fears over dangerous religious groups, the media dropped the story quickly after the investigation yielded little more than vehicle violations. The Pana Wave affair represents a post-Aum Shinrikyôô moral panic in which the reaction to the perceived threat far outweighed the reality of the situation.
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