Komeito Wary of Unification Church Issue ahead of Local Races


Tokyo, Dec. 1 (Jiji Press)--Komeito, the junior party in Japan's ruling coalition, is worried about the possible effects of controversy over the religious organization known as the Unification Church on its showing in the country's unified local elections next April.

Komeito, whose main supporter is lay Buddhist group Soka Gakkai, fears that increased public attention on the relationship between politics and religion may harm its electoral chances.

Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi and other senior Komeito officials have been traveling to the eastern Japan prefecture of Ibaraki to campaign for the party's candidates in a local assembly election set for Dec. 11.

"The Ibaraki prefectural assembly election is a preliminary battle ahead of unified local elections," Yamaguchi said during a stump speech in the Ibaraki city of Tsuchiura on Sunday. "I hope you will give us the opportunity to show the power of Komeito and lead the nation in a big way."

The party is backing four candidates in the hope of maintaining its four-member strength in the 62-seat assembly. "The result will show the momentum of each party," Komeito Secretary-General Keiichi Ishii said in a press conference Friday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press