Following Shinzo Abe’s murder, which increased scrutiny of the Unification Church, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Tuesday that Japan would introduce a new law to stop harmfully significant donations to religious organizations.
Since the assassination of former prime minister Abe in July, Kishida has had to contend with questions concerning connections between the group and politicians.
According to reports, the suspect in Abe’s murder hated the Unification Church because his mother had given the organization significant gifts that left the family penniless.
Kishida claimed that despite the church’s denial of wrongdoing and commitment to curtailing “excessive” donations, he had seen persons who had suffered as a result of making significant financial gifts.
The prime minister expressed his plans to stop “malicious donations,” in which members of religious groups are forced to give large amounts of money, saying it was “heartbreaking to hear their experiences.”
The government will make every effort to present the bill as quickly as possible, ideally before the current parliamentary session, which ends on December 10, regarding new legislation to assist victims of harmful donations.
The law’s specifics are still being worked out, but Kishida stated that it will be focused on “banning socially inappropriate and dishonest recruitment techniques” and “enabling donations to be recalled.”
He requested last month that the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the official name of the Unification Church, be the subject of a federal probe.
The investigation may result in a dissolution order, which would result in the church losing its status as a tax-exempt religious organization but would not prevent it from continuing to function.
The church, whose adherents are commonly referred to as “Moonies,” was established in Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon and became well-known worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s.
It is well-known for its large-scale wedding celebrations, and organizations connected to the church have been given speeches by notable figures, including Abe and former US president Donald Trump, who neither belonged to the sect.
As a result of a Japanese minister resigning after being questioned about his connections to the church, the government’s approval ratings have fallen precipitously in recent months. They have recently reached their lowest point since Kishida took office last year.9