Unification Church says it admits relationship with Japanese politicians
Tokyo, Aug 10 (EFE).- The Unification Church said Wednesday it recognized its relationship with Japanese politicians with the aim of “fighting communism” although it denied any political aspiration behind this fact.
Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japanese branch of this organization founded in 1954 in South Korea, said that since its creation “they seek to fight against communism and work with anyone who shares this goal, which includes politicians,” but denied any secondary interests.
Tanaka spoke at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, where he also denied that his creed carries out “spiritual sales,” a strategy to obtain money from his followers by selling items at high prices or demanding donations.
“The media continues to report spiritual sales even now, but we have never engaged in this, either in the past or today,” said the group’s president.
He defended himself against claims that his religious group, which some describe as a sect due to their alleged practices, could be related to the Jul. 8 assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old ex-military man living in Nara, fatally shot Abe, believing he had ties to that creed, which he believed was responsible for ruining his family through religious sales and donations by his mother, who was a member of the organization.
The suspect initially planned to attack leaders of this organization but finally chose to mark Abe as a target after seeing a video message sent by the former president in support of a group affiliated with the Unification Church.
The group’s media scrutiny increased after Abe’s death and Japanese recently echoed numerous cases of ruling Liberal Democratic Party parliamentarians and other parties who received support from this organization or participated in affiliated events.
The links between the group and the country’s political sphere have recently undermined public support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who led the first reshuffle of his cabinet Wednesday in an attempt to cut dubious ties with the religious group. EFE