(PatriotWise.com) — The Japanese government announced this week that it will seek to revoke the legal status of the Unification Church after last year’s assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised questions about the church’s recruitment tactics and fundraising efforts, the Associated Press reported.
Japan’s Education Minister Masahito Moriyama said on Thursday that the ministry decided to ask a court to revoke the group’s status after the church failed to respond to dozens of questions in seven inquiries related to its fundraising and recruiting.
If the church’s legal status is revoked, it would still be permitted to operate but would lose its tax exemption.
The investigation into Abe’s July 2022 assassination turned up decades of close ties between the South Korean-based Unification Church and Japan’s governing party, prompting public outrage.
The man accused of assassinating Abe allegedly told police that the former prime minister’s ties to the Unification Church motivated his actions since his family was left bankrupt by his mother’s repeated donations to the group.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida denied speculation that the move was aimed at shoring up dwindling support for his government, saying that the decision to seek a revocation was not a political one but one that was made carefully based on the facts.
The Japanese branch of the Unification Church, officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, blasted the decision.
In a statement on Thursday, the group said the government’s decision was “based on distorted information provided by a leftist lawyers’ group” that seeks to destroy the organization. The church described the effort as a “stain on Japan’s constitutional history.”
Minister Moriyama said the request for revocation would be submitted to the Toyko District Court as soon as Friday, October 13. The process, which involves hearings from both the government and the church, would take some time, Moriyama said.
If the court sides with the government, the Unification Church would become the first religious group to lose its legal status for violating a civil code.
Copyright 2023, PatriotWise.com