Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: AP file
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Consultations to Unification Church victim group jump after Abe death

19 Comments

A group helping victims of the Unification Church said Thursday that consultations it received in July jumped 12 times more than the previous month, following the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A majority of the 94 consultations came from families of believers asking how their kin could leave the church, according to the group, while other cases concerned financial issues, with one saying a family member had contributed 500 million yen ($3.73 million) or more to the church.

Surging consultations were also reported by the National Network of Lawyers against Spiritual Sales, which was established in 1987 to help victims of so-called spiritual sales, in which people were talked into buying jars and other items for exorbitant prices.

The church, founded by a staunch anti-communist, is widely known for its mass weddings and has drawn scrutiny over such sales.

In 2021, the lawyers' group said it accepted 47 consultations in total. But since the fatal shooting of Abe on July 8, the group's chief secretary, Yasuo Kawai, said it is receiving 20 to 30 requests daily.

The church, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, has come under renewed scrutiny after investigative sources have said the accused assailant Tetsuya Yamagami was motivated by the former prime minister's alleged links to the church.

Yamagami, 41, is known to have a grudge against the church after his mother became a believer and her huge donations bankrupted the family.

He had also claimed that Abe's grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, helped bring the church, founded in 1954 in South Korea, to Japan.

On the surge in consultations, the church told Kyodo News, "We cannot judge whether 'damages' have actually been incurred without examining the content of each instance that the lawyers' network and other groups refer to as 'damages consultation.'"

The victims' support group said that of the 94 consultations taken in July, 91 were made after Abe's shooting. The total excludes inquiries and reports of leaving the church.

In contrast, the group received just seven cases of consultation in April, four in May and eight in June.

Reflecting a downward trend over the years, the group received 56 consultations in fiscal 2021, plummeting from 273 in fiscal 2011.

The group said it was also consulted by some "second-generation members" of other religious groups that their parents are affiliated with.

Yoshihide Sakurai, a Hokkaido University graduate school professor of sociology of religion who also supports the group, said that the revelations around Yamagami and his family "appear to have caused a phenomenon in which families of believers realized they have been affected."

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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The God that you should believe in needs no financial support, what with It being a God and all that.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

If anything positive can be found from Abe's assassination, it's got to be this. Shining a light on a cult and helping people who have been ripped off get their family members back and hopefully their money too, is definitely a positive!

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The founder of this Unification Church, was also the founder of the Washington Times.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

On the surge in consultations, the church told Kyodo News, "We cannot judge whether 'damages' have actually been incurred without examining the content of each instance that the lawyers' network and other groups refer to as 'damages consultation.'"

The justice system in Japan is pretty zealous prosecuting "victimless" crimes like substance abuse, tax debt and visa overstaying.

But ignores these victims because the perpetrator has high social standing, particularly with conservative political bigwigs.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Glad to see at least one positive thing has come from this.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Why donate so much money to the Obasan (aunt) leader to lavish her lifestyle. She is not your GOD and also not your mother.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Your in for a big surprise. Your soul lives forever.

if that is true, why do the souls of my shoes always wear out and I have to buy new ones, with the 10% Abenonomis sales tax?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The founder of this Unification Church, was also the founder of the Washington Times."

Interesting fact...didnt know that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unification church is a woke cult..

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Mayyyyybe Japanese authorities will finaly take measure against sects and to prohibite them as it is done in many countries.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Freedom of religion is a right under the constitution. The Americans included that. Religions can not be banned.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Religions can not be banned.

Nor should they be.

But they can be ridiculed.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Religions can not be banned

We shouldn’t try to ban them but I am in favour of making sure they don’t get their tentacles into politics. They are corrosive.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan people should stick to Sido or Buddhism.

Traditional Churches don't fail easily!

Sects are a disease all over officiall churches!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A fool and his money are soon parted.

why do the souls of my shoes

You are confused between soles and souls.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Any actual evidence to prove there isn't? With theism having the far larger impact on human history and development, the onus is on new-age atheists to show otherwise

Or one can adopt the agnostic principle that any belief should be founded on evidence. Some things are perhaps unknowable - for example, the cause of existence. Regarding gods, I don't know as I see no evidence therefore I don't believe.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Glad to see at least one positive thing has come from this.

I can see at least two.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Mr.Kipling amen to that ! Ha

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Religions can not be banned or stop people from coming members including politicians but the constitutions of political parties on donations can be changed and should be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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