Home Global Politics EXPLAINER: The Unification Church’s ties to Japan’s politics

EXPLAINER: The Unification Church’s ties to Japan’s politics

by Good News
EXPLAINER: The Unification Church’s ties to Japan’s politics

TOKYO (AP) — The assassination of broken-down Eastern High Minister Shinzo Abe has unearthed long-suspected, diminutive-talked-of hyperlinks between him and a non secular neighborhood that began in South Korea but has unfold its have an effect on at some level of the realm.

Police and Eastern media maintain urged that the alleged attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami, who changed into arrested on the location, changed into mad about Abe’s reported ties to the Unification Church, which has pursued relationships with politically conservative groups and leaders in the US, Japan and Europe. The suspect reportedly changed into upset because his mother’s huge donations to the church bankrupted the family.

Many Eastern were greatly surprised as revelations emerged this week of the ties between the church and Japan’s high leaders, which maintain their roots in shared anti-communism efforts at some level of the Cool War. Analysts express it will in all probability well perhaps also lead folks to peek more carefully how powerfully the ruling birthday celebration’s conservative worldviews maintain urged the policies of as a lot as date Japan.

A witness on the church and its deep ties to Japan’s governing birthday celebration and Abe’s family:



The church changed into founded in Seoul in 1954, a yr after the pause of the Korean War, by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who preached fresh interpretations of the Bible and conservative, family-oriented worth programs.

The church championed anti-communism and the unification of the Korean Peninsula, which has been shatter up between the totalitarian North and democratic South.

The church would possibly perhaps be most effective identified for mass weddings where it paired off couples, continuously from a bunch of nations, and renewed the vows of those already married, at mountainous, originate locations corresponding to stadiums and gymnasiums. The neighborhood is purported to maintain a world membership of thousands and thousands, along with thousands and thousands in Japan.

The church confronted accusations in the 1970s and ’80s of the exercise of devious recruitment tactics and brainwashing adherents into turning over large parts of their salaries to Moon. The church has denied such allegations, pronouncing many fresh spiritual movements confronted identical accusations in their early years.

In Japan, the neighborhood has confronted court cases for offering “spiritual merchandise” that allegedly precipitated members to steal costly artwork and jewellery or sell their staunch property to elevate donations for the church.



At some level of his life, Moon worked to remodel his church into a global spiritual motion and create bigger its enterprise and charitable actions. Moon changed into convicted of tax evasion in 1982 and served a penitentiary period of time in Recent York. He died in 2012.

The church has developed relations with conservative world leaders along with U.S. presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and more only in the near previous Donald Trump.

Moon also had ties with North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of as a lot as date ruler Kim Jong Un.

Moon said in his autobiography that he asked Kim to renounce his nuclear ambitions, and that Kim responded that his atomic program changed into for restful purposes and he had no draw to make exercise of it to “assassinate (Korean) compatriots.”



Abe changed into identified for his arch-conservative views on safety and historical previous points and also changed into backed by necessary lobbies such because the Nippon Kaigi. He seemed in events organized by church mates, along with one in September 2021.

In a video proven on a mountainous veil on the meeting of church-linked Well-liked Peace Federation, or UPF, Abe praised its work against peace on the Korean Peninsula and the neighborhood’s focal level on family values. An emphasis on conventional, paternalistic family programs changed into one amongst Abe’s key positions.

“I fancy UPF’s focal level on family values,” he said in the video. “Let’s be attentive to so-known as social innovative movements with slim-minded values.”

Experiences of his look in the 2021 occasion drew criticisms from the Eastern Communist Social gathering and cult watchers, along with a neighborhood of attorneys who maintain watched the Unification Church actions and supported its alleged victims.

In a knowledge convention Monday after the church’s connection to Abe’s assassination changed into printed, the church’s leader in Japan, Tomohiro Tanaka, said Abe supported UPF’s peace motion but that he changed into no longer a member.

Police level-headed maintain no longer publicly identified the neighborhood cited by the suspect, presumably to keep a long way from inciting violence.



The ties between the church and Japan’s governing birthday celebration return to Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who served as prime minister and shared worries with Washington over the unfold of communism in Japan in the 1960s as labor union activists won strength.

Kishi, who changed into arrested as a war criminal but never charged, changed into identified for his steady-cruise political opinions, and the Unification Church’s anti-communist stance matched his views of Japan’s national pursuits, consultants express.

Kishi’s end relationship with the church changed into publicly identified. The church headquarters at one level changed into housed in a constructing next to Kishi’s Tokyo space, and he changed into viewed with Moon in photography taken on the church and published in neighborhood publications. Media reports express the suspect believed that Kishi introduced the church to Japan.

“Eastern leaders on the time noticed the church as a tool to advertise anti-communist views in Japan,” said Masaki Kito, a lawyer and knowledgeable on spiritual agencies. For the neighborhood, showcasing end ties with renowned politicians changed into a system to ranking endorsement for its exercise.

Ties between church-affiliated organizations and Liberal Democratic Social gathering lawmakers developed over a protracted time for the reason that church expanded, providing stable political toughen and votes for the governing birthday celebration, consultants express, though the neighborhood denied it.

A peek of 128 lawmakers received from police and published in the Weekly Gendai journal in 1999 showed most attended events organized by the Unification Church’s anti-communism affiliate, the Global Federation for Victory Over Communism, also funded by Moon, and bigger than 20 LDP lawmakers had as a minimum one church member in their workplaces as a volunteer.



The church denied any favorable medication by Kishi when it opened a Japan branch. Tanaka said Abe supported fresh leader Hak Ja Han Moon’s peace motion, but denied any motion of money between the neighborhood and the LDP.

The church said Monday it had no records showing that Yamagami changed into a member. The church said it had had no tell relationship with Abe, even supposing it interacted with a bunch of lawmakers via an affiliated group.

Members of the Nationwide Community of Attorneys In opposition to Spiritual Sales, who see the church, express they maintain got over and over asked Abe and a bunch of LDP lawmakers to discontinuance performing at or sending messages to the events organized by the Unification Church or mates whereas ignoring the long-standing church-linked issues.



“The assassination is shedding a mild-weight on the Unification Church,” said Koichi Nakano, a world politics professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. “The church’s relationship with the LDP’s steady-cruise factions and its extremely-steady-cruise policies would possibly perhaps come below end scrutiny,” and lead to a reevaluation of Abe’s legacy.

It would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps also lead to revelations of how the birthday celebration’s views maintain distorted postwar Eastern society, whereas stalling development of gender equality and sexual diversity points, Nakano said.

Takuya Tasso, the governor of Iwate in northern Japan, said Friday that as a broken-down bureaucrat and national lawmaker he knew about the LDP’s hyperlinks to the church and he said its alleged have an effect on on balloting and govt policies has to be thoroughly investigated.


Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed.

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