The group has denied any wrongdoing, but church executive Hideyuki Teshigawara said there would be changes to how donations are taken Photo: AFP
politics

Unification Church in Japan vows reform after criticism

46 Comments

The Unification Church in Japan pledged Thursday to prevent followers from making "excessive" donations, after criticism of its practices following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe's alleged assassin is believed to have resented the sect over massive donations his mother made to the church, leaving his family bankrupt.

He reportedly targeted Abe believing he was linked to the church, whose followers are sometimes known colloquially as Moonies.

The group has denied any wrongdoing and disavowed Abe's murder, but church executive Hideyuki Teshigawara said it would now "take into consideration the financial situation of followers and ensure that donations are not excessive".

The church will "respect the independence and free will of followers" on donations, Teshigawara, who heads the group's new reform committee, told reporters.

The group says it took measures to regulate donations in 2009, but will now bolster them.

The announcement comes after a wave of accusations about the church's practices, including from former members who say they were pressured into making enormous donations under the guise of "spiritual sales".

The mother of the man accused of killing Abe donated around 100 million yen (then around $1 million) to the church, according to a relative.

Japan's National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales says it has filed suits seeking 123.7 billion yen ($850 million) in damages for former followers since 1987.

The church, however, says just four civil lawsuits were filed since 2009 and they have all been settled, for a total of 38 million yen.

Experts say Japan serves as a financial hub for the church, which is known officially as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification and was founded by Sun Myung Moon in Korea in 1954.

Japanese believers are taught that they need to atone for their country's wartime occupation of Korea, in part through hefty donations, according to former members and experts.

Teshigawara said the church would review the use of money raised in Japan for missionary work overseas and would look to use the funds to support domestic efforts instead.

Anyone found violating the church's policies would be "strictly punished", he added.

The reforms are unlikely to dissipate the widening controversy over the church, particularly after the revelation that it had links with around half the ruling party's lawmakers.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has seen his government's approval ratings slip over the issue, has pledged his party will cut ties with the church.

He faces additional controversy over a planned state funeral for Abe on September 27, with polls showing more than half of Japanese people oppose the event.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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Reform?

Those fraudsters should be in jail!

31 ( +31 / -0 )

Yeh sure they will……

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Best way to reform is to take away religious tax free status. Also, it takes two to tango, LDP won't reform.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Korean Unification Church should be investigated and shut down in Japan.

South Korea's government should come out with apology, and compensation for all Japanese citizens who became victim of Korean Unification Church. This crimes are happening in 2022, and no remorse or sincere apology or feelings from Korea.

Koreans are such experts on whats sincere and whats not. On how to applogies correctly, You keep telling Japan we're doing it wrong! Not good enough for the Korean!..... Go ahead and show us how the expert SKorea does it!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Reform?

How about shutting them down and going after the members?

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Too late! Go back to Korea. Immediately!!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Forget reforms. Ban them and strip all their special treatments and tax deductions. The officials need to go after them hard and break this cult apart before they are allow to get back on their feet. And check how much money they took away from the people each year.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Time to nail them to the cross.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Too late! Go back to Korea. Immediately!!

Problem is they are mostly Japanese and cannot be deported. They can however be imprisoned.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

You should be in jail buddy

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Scary man, The problem is NOT the amount of donation! the problem is the scary and intimidating tactics used by Cult to collect these donations which leads followers to give away their life savings. This is the problem Sir.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Instead of reforming, how about just disband and to never form breakaway groups again. The best they could probably do is to reform as a friendly civic group that does community service instead.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just get rid of these crackpots.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Have they ever justified why they need endless amounts of donations? Gov should force them to open their books if they haven't erased them already of course.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The Unification Church in Japan pledged

Other fraudsters are arrested, charged, detained and fined.

The Unification Church, Japan Inc. and LDP politicians "pledge, promise" to reform themselves when they are caught in wrongdoing.

The privileges of power.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

there is one and only possible "reform"-ban them 100%,freeze their money ,put leaders in jail and than investigate slowly and properly.one and only way.all other options are just ps/sorry abt mistyping/.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Reform is such a pathetic and useless response by the government but it is expected.

The LDP will never force custodial sentences on church management as 1.it would open a can of worms and 2.the people of Japan would see that its own government has colluded in fraud against them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Have they ever justified why they need endless amounts of donations? Gov should force them to open their books if they haven't erased them already of course.

Did you read the story?

Teshigawara said the church would review the use of money raised in Japan for missionary work overseas and would look to use the funds to support domestic efforts instead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Billions of yen have been transferred to South Korea.

Japanese believers are taught that they need to atone for their country's wartime occupation of Korea, in part through hefty donations, according to former members and experts.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Teshigawara said the church would review the use of money raised in Japan for missionary work overseas and would look to use the funds to support domestic efforts instead.

So they just using Japanese as a cash cow. That right there should make you question their motives.

Japanese believers are taught that they need to atone for their country's wartime occupation of Korea, in part through hefty donations, according to former members and experts.

Korea stuck with this idea even in their religion. Disgusting.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Have you seen Q &A session at the conference? They appeared not apologetic nor accountable. I don't believe they were ready and willing to make real reform for the cult organisation. DISBAND it, or apply the yakuza control law to it. Their rip-off activities have already been recognized as illegal by the Sapporo court while the high court upheld the verdict.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese believers are taught that they need to atone for their country's wartime occupation of Korea, in part through hefty donations, according to former members and experts.

A new line of inquiry confirms that the UC has also been involved in the "comfort women" campaigns in South Korea since 2012. No surprise, as both approaches are pretty identical. But are "patriotic" LDP politicians victims or collaborateurs of the wartime issue propaganda?

旧統一教会が韓国で行ってきた、「従軍慰安婦プロパガンダ」の呆れた実態

https://gendai.media/articles/-/99683

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So, the high profile 'moonies cult' member Abe, who was guilty of corruption and despised by the people of Japan, still gets a state funeral even when the majority of Japanese oppose it, that's democracy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Rebranding is the word they're looking for.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I get it, Thank You, Thank You, Thank you so much Japan, starting next month we will only take 89% instead of 99% of your income, we thank you.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Anyone found violating the church's policies would be "strictly punished", he added.

Scary when a church thinks they have the god-given right to "punish" anyone without seeking legal intervention. Even more scary when authorities are aware of it and sit back to allow them to be a self-managing entity. Some child abuse that was not investigated comes to mind...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Moonies are a cult centered around the false teachings of the sham Meister Sun Myung Moon. they exert so much control over their flock as to even choose their mates for them. Then they want to wrap their tentacles around other aspects, like influence in government.

THIS is why religion and state must be kept separate. Power and influence corrupts.

That's right now. The Moonie Church has been caught influencing the LDP and now the Little Skippy Boy vows to be good from now on, giving the Scout's Honor salute with one hand while the other hand holds a slingshot behind his back. Uh-huh.

Never trust a cult.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Ban them already. This group has created too much damage already.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Take into consideration the financial situation of followers and ensure that donations are not excessive

Do they (U.C.) know the difference between donations and blackmail ? They have been doing blackmailing business for very long time. Blackmail is a criminal activity and must be sanctioned by law. They are unpunished was because the LDP protecting them!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Japanese people saw thieves blackmailing the people, the Unification Church is a criminal organisation but the Japanese public cant do anything over them, why the U.C. is above law ? And why did they can made blackmailing business legally? There was NO excessive donnations, the worshippers were under blackmailing or harassing or even threatening to pay money. Those are not donations, those are blackmailing, a crime!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

ReasonandWisdomNipponToday  07:21 am JST

Korean Unification Church should be investigated and shut down in Japan.

South Korea's government should come out with apology, and compensation for all Japanese citizens who became victim of Korean Unification Church. This crimes are happening in 2022, and no remorse or sincere apology or feelings from Korea.

The LDP let it all happen, either because they were complicit or negligent. Don't you think they should offer apologies and compensation?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Moonies are a cult. a toxic cancerous blight to J society, and without doubt must be expunged from every nook and cranny of J community.

Unification Church says it accepted ‘excessive’ donations from mother of suspect in Abe killing

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/23/unification-church-says-it-accepted-excessive-donations-from-mother-of-suspect-in-abe-killing

The Japanese ruling government have a duty to purge there party of this cult menace.

However one feels about Shinzo Abe politically, there is evidence this cult is responsible directly, or at the very least partially in his brutal murder in a busy Tokyo street.

Moonies gone, never to return.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Unification Church in Japan pledged Thursday to prevent followers from making "excessive" donations

These clowns make it sound as if the brainwashed followers were falling over themselves to buy the overpriced junk and give donations in order to bankrupt themselves of their own will and sound mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hideyuki Teshigawara said there would be changes to how donations are taken 

They shouldn't be getting any "donations" by this point. Just indictment notices.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That cult must be loving the free press.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

using the church for money is sacrilege! a one-way ticket to hell and jail!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Teshigawara said the church would review the use of money raised in Japan for missionary work overseas and would look to use the funds to support domestic efforts instead.

This is to say the the Moonies will simply become smarter snake oil salesmen. Moonies and similar groups should be outlawed. Period. With the considerable inundation of Moonies in the LDP the prospect is tenuous.

Another thing. South Koreans are as much victims of the Moonies as the Japanese. Possibly more so. Using the Moonies as an excuse to get at Koran people is unacceptable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Korean cultists will control Japan as usual.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I watched this whole presser. And the Q&A. Not a single grain of religiosity can be found in these two people. Their anger and arrogance is in a whole different level. Strip them of their religion status. Tax them

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan should investigate the unification church, punish those who control it and confiscate all its assets. It is not a church or religion, it is an extortion gang. They might be controlled by yakuza gangs! I liked Japanese people for rejecting western religions, I wonder how a Korean managed to infiltrate you? Those are criminals.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stealing from the poor.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A crazy person murdered Mr. Abe. Yet some people talk as if he was the good guy. I don't understand this thinking. And when this church promises to reform itself, people seem to hate it more. Historically, nations with Religious freedom have been rare. This effects all religions and people, despite differences.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Translation: We will do better to hide our corruption from the public.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I cannot believe the ruling party of Japan was so corrupted that they allowing a criminal organization like the Unification Church can blackmailing money from her own people and above law!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

elephant200Sep. 23  11:31 pm JST

I cannot believe the ruling party of Japan was so corrupted that they allowing a criminal organization like the Unification Church can blackmailing money from her own people and above law!

You're not too familiar with the LDP, then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's only one way out of this mess .

The old LDP members must all be gotten rid of .

We need a new cabinet and leaders.

Time for the Japanese people to step in and make change happen.

What the LDP and the unification church have done and are doing effects everyone

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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