Shimomura Approved Unification Church Renaming: Ex-Bureaucrat

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 5 (Jiji Press)--Approval for the renaming of the religious group widely known as the Unification Church can be attributed to former Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura, a former bureaucrat said Friday.

Former vice education minister Kihei Maekawa told a hearing session hosted by opposition parties including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party that he is "100 pct sure" that Shimomura was behind the 2015 approval by the Agency for Cultural Affairs for the renaming of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Maekawa said that he told the religious group in 1997, when he was chief of the agency's religious affairs division, that the renaming was unacceptable.

The name change was approved despite Maekawa's opposition in 2015, when he was a deputy education minister and was briefed about the renaming by the cultural agency.

The agency reversed its 18-year policy of not accepting the renaming, Maekawa said. "Given bureaucratic routines that follow precedents, I can only think that external power was at work," he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press