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Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida Orders an Investigation into the Unification Church

The church has been in the news since former prime minister Shinzo Abe was killed

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

JAPAN: Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, mandated a probe into the Unification Church on Monday as he tries to turn around his political career amid a scandal linking his party to the sect.

The church, properly known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, has been in the news since former prime minister Shinzo Abe was killed on July 8th.

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Initially, Fumio Kishida had been hesitant to intensify inspection of the church, whose followers are known as Moonies, but on Monday, his education minister, Keiko Nagaoka, announced the investigation would start “immediately.”

Tetsuya Yamagami, the assassin who shot Abe during an election rally, has said that he chose Abe as his target because he believed the politician supported the church, which he blamed for bankrupting his family.

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In his Monday speech to the parliament, Kishida said that “many victims” of the church and its affiliated organisations had ended themselves in poverty or were in danger of experiencing family dissolution.

The prime minister declared that he was “taking seriously” claims that the religion caused many adherents to become destitute and uproot their families. He stated that because efforts to assist them are still insufficient, “the government will exercise its power to investigate the church under the Religious Corporations Act.”

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Regarding the church’s financial difficulties and mental health issues, Kishida claimed that the government had been approached with more than 1700 requests for assistance. He promised to increase victim support.

In a statement made public on Monday, the government’s panel of experts recommended that investigators consider the prospect of the church’s dissolution. It would cause the church to lose its tax-exempt organisation status but would not stop it from operating.

Sun Myung Moon, an anti-communist and self-styled messiah, established the Unification Church in South Korea in 1954.

Hiroshi Yamaguchi, a lawyer who has worked on cases against it, believes that it developed relationships with politicians to draw supporters and acquire credibility. He claimed that politicians used churchgoers as a conduit for campaign support.

As a result of mounting resentment over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers’ failure to adequately disclose their connections to the church, famed for its mass weddings, support for Kishida’s government has reached its lowest point—35%—since he took office as prime minister in October 2021.

Also Read: Indian PM Narendra Modi Visits Tokyo to Attend Shinzo Abe’s Funeral

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