Japan’s government will ask court to revoke legal status of Unification Church

by | Oct 12, 2023 | Religion

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government said Thursday it would ask a court to revoke the legal status of the Unification Church after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination raised questions about the group’s fundraising and recruitment tactics.Education Minister Masahito Moriyama said the ministry proposed seeking the revocation after interviewing more than 170 people allegedly harmed by the fundraising tactics and other problems. The church failed to respond to dozens of questions during the seven inquiries, he said.
If its legal status is stripped, the church would lose its tax exemption privilege as a religious organization but can still operate.
Decades of cozy ties between the South Korea-based church and Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party were revealed in the investigation of Abe’s 2022 assassination and have triggered public outrage. The man accused of shooting Abe at a campaign event allegedly told police he was motivated by the former prime minister’s links to the church, which had bankrupted his family due to his mother’s excessive donations.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government’s decision was made carefully based on facts and was not political, denying speculation it was intended to shore up dwindling public support.
The Japan branch of the church, which officially calls itself the Family Federation for World Peace and …

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