AsiaJapan: Prime Minister orders investigation into moon division
Fumio Kishida on Monday ordered an investigation into the Unification Church, a religious group that has come under increased scrutiny since the assassination of Shinzo Abe.
Tetsuya Yamagami, the alleged murderer of Shinzo Abe, became disgusted with the organization, nicknamed the “Moon Sect”, to which his mother would have made important donations, leading to the destruction of their family. The suspect also believed that the former prime minister was close to the sect.
The group has denied any wrongdoing, but several former members have publicly criticized Moon’s sect’s practices, accusing it of imposing donation targets on its followers and revelations about its ties to prominent political figures in Japan that helped lower its popularity ratings. Government of Fumio Kishida.
The prime minister “asked me to exercise our right to investigate the Unification Church,” Education and Culture Minister Keiko Nagaoka told reporters, adding: “I will receive it immediately.”
Fumio Kishida was prepared to speak on the matter on Monday, but local media previously reported that the investigation would focus on whether the Unification Church harmed the public interest or acted contrary to the status of a religious group.
The investigation could lead to a dissolution order under the Religious Organizations Act, which would cause the Lunar division to lose its status, as well as exemption from taxes, but it could continue to operate.
According to Japanese media, only two religious groups in Japan have been targeted by such an order, one of which is the Aum Shinrikyo sect, which carried out a sarin gas attack in a Tokyo subway in 1995. The Japanese government, however, is reluctant to use such a measure for fear of violating freedom of worship.
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