Tokyo, Aug 31 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday that members of his party will be asked to cut ties with the contentious Unification Church, which has come under the spotlight after the assassination of former leader Shinzo Abe.
In a press conference, Kishida said while religious freedom is important to the constitution, politicians have to be careful in their dealings with these organizations.
“I feel that the people’s trust in politics has been shaken,” Kishida said, following reports some members of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have ties to the Unification Church.
Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old former navy member living in Nara, is accused of shooting Abe dead on July 8.
He expressed to police resentment towards the Unification Church, which he believed was responsible for bankrupting his family through “spiritual sales” and donations from his mother, who was a member.
The suspect allegedly targeted Abe believing the former prime minister had links to the church, whose members are known as “Moonies.”
Kishida also referred Wednesday to criticism regarding Abe’s state funeral, which will be held on Sep. 27 at the iconic Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo, which will cost at least 250 million yen (about $1.8 million) and is expected to be attended by some 6,400 people.
He defended the holding of the funeral, saying many countries had expressed the desire to attend, but added that holding a state service is not meant to encourage people into mourning, a concern raised by the opposition.
Major foreign figures expected to attend the funeral include former US president Barack Obama, current vice president Kamala Harris and French president Emmanuel Macron. EFE