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Japan To Probe Unification Church In Fresh Scrutiny After Shinzo Abe Murder


Japan probes Unification Church in new scrutiny after Shinzo Abe murder

The Unification Church has been accused of pressuring members to donate too much.

Tokyo:

On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered a government investigation into the Unification Church, following the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, extending checks on the sect.

The group has come into the spotlight because the man accused of killing Abe is believed to have grievances against the church, which is accused of pressuring members to donate too much.

Officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the sect was founded in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon and its members are sometimes referred to as “Moonies”.

The church has denied wrongdoing, but a parade of former members went public with criticism of its activities, and revelations about the organization’s connections to politics. Top experts helped boost Kishida’s approval rating.

Kishida “instructed me to use our right to probe the Unification Church,” Keiko Nagaoka, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, told reporters.

“I’ll start right away,” she said.

Kishida is expected to speak on the matter later on Monday, but local media said the investigation will look into whether the church harmed public welfare or committed illegal acts. as opposed to being a religious group or not.

The investigation could result in a dissolution order under religious corporation law, which would cause the church to lose its status as a tax-exempt religious organization, although it could still continue to operate.

According to local media, only two religious groups in Japan have ever received such orders, one of which was the Aum Shinrikyo sect that carried out the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway.

The other group is a group that deceives the members.

But the government is said to be hesitant about the possibility of issuing such an order to the Unification Church due to concerns about religious freedom.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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