Unification Church in Japan vows reform after criticism

TOKYO – The Unification Church in Japan pledged on Thursday to prevent followers from making “excessive” donations, after criticism of its practices following the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Abe’s alleged assassin is believed to have resented the sect over massive donations his mother made to the church, leaving his family bankrupt. He […]

Japan’s LDP to update list of members linked to Unification Church

TOKYO – Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will release an updated list of members who have had connections with the controversial Unification Church, its secretary-general Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday. Links between the church and LDP have been in focus after former premier Shinzo Abe was shot during an election rally. The suspected killer […]

Unification Church ex-members in Japan rail at politicians who embraced it

TOKYO – When Mr Sun Myung Moon, the Korean founder of the Unification Church, needed money for its extensive spiritual and business ventures, he would look to Japan, according to some former members. “Senior officials would tell us he needed hundreds of millions of dollars, and that Japan had to pay,” said Kanazawa University Professor […]

Japan PM Kishida apologises for party members’ ties with Unification Church

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday (Aug 31) that politicians had a duty of being cautious about their ties with various organisations and apologised for his party members’ reported activities with the controversial Unification Church. “As head of the party, I offer my sincere apologies,” he told a news conference […]

Darkening view of Japan ruling party’s ties with Unification Church drags down support for PM Kishida

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination was expected to unite a nation in shock. Instead, it exposed embarrassing ties between the ruling party and the Unification Church, leading to a sharp fall in public support for the current leader and possibly threatening his grip on power. The approval rating for Prime […]

Japan PM Kishida’s support tumbles, hit by questions over church and Covid-19

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government has tumbled, battered by questions about the ruling party’s ties to the Unification Church and its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a public opinion poll. Links to the church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings, […]

Unification Church members accuse Japanese media of bias over Abe killing

SEOUL (REUTERS) – Thousands of Unification Church members gathered in Seoul on Thursday (Aug 18) to protest what they call discriminatory and unfair Japanese media coverage of their church since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination. The suspect in Abe’s July 8 shooting, Tetsuya Yamagami, bore a grudge against the church, alleging it bankrupted his […]

Japan PM Kishida shakes up Cabinet in ‘damage control’ amid Unification Church furore

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug 10), removing some ministers with links to the Unification Church in a bid to stem plunging support amid growing public outrage over the ruling party’s ties to the controversial group. Mr Kishida, in office since last October, announced his new government […]

In Japan, Abe suspect’s grudge against Unification Church is a familiar one

TOKYO (NYTIMES) – The day before Shinzo Abe was assassinated, Tetsuya Yamagami sent a letter saying that the Unification Church had ruined his life, “destroying my family and driving it into bankruptcy”. Yamagami’s mother had been a member of the church for more than two decades, making prodigious donations over her family’s objections. “It’s no […]