Japan Govt Study Panel on "Spiritual Sales" to Be Set Up

Politics Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Aug. 12 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Consumer affairs minister Taro Kono said Friday he has instructed the Consumer Affairs Agency to set up a study panel on "spiritual sales," a practice known for being used by the Unification Church.

"I want to have the panel launched as promptly as possible," Kono, who assumed the ministerial post only on Wednesday, told a press conference. "My plan is to ask (the panel) to discuss how to deal with (spiritual sales) so that problems don't emerge."

The Unification Church, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, came under renewed public scrutiny after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot to death last month by a suspect whose mother is a follower of the controversial religious group.

The use of spiritual sales, in which goods such as vases and seals with high price tags are sold based on a claim that such goods can cut the buyers free from the "misfortunes of ancestors," has been a social problem in Japan since the 1980s.

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