Unification Church in Tough Position 2 Yrs after Abe Shooting

Society

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--As Monday marks the second anniversary of the fatal shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Unification Church finds itself in a difficult position as the incident shed light on the religious group's controversial practices, such as collecting massive donations from its followers.

The controversy was fueled by media reports that the shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, 43, cited his personal grudge against the Unification Church as a motive for the attack. He reportedly believed Abe had ties with the group, to which his mother is said to have donated at least 100 million yen.

Since November 2022, the culture ministry has repeatedly exercised its right to have the group respond to its inquiries. And in October last year, the ministry asked Tokyo District Court to issue an order to dissolve the group, alleging violations of the Civil Code.

On the case, the district court heard the views of both the government and the religious group for the first time in February this year. The hearing was held behind closed doors. The group claimed that it had received donations as part of its religious activities, and argued that the government seeking its dissolution, as Yamagami wanted, is an abnormal situation.

Discussions have continued in writing, but the case looks certain to be prolonged. A Unification Church source said that the hearing process has not even reached the halfway point.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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