Why is Japan looking for the dissolution of the controversial Unification Church? | Mahaz News

Tokyo, Japan
Mahaz News

Japan’s authorities on Friday requested a court docket to order the dissolution of the Unification Church department in Japan following the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022.

The authorities’s transfer comes after a months-long probe into the church, formally recognized in Japan because the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

The investigation adopted claims by the suspected shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, that he fatally shot Abe as a result of he believed the chief was related to the church, which Yamagami blamed for bankrupting his household by means of the extreme donations of his mom, a member.

Earlier in January, Japanese prosecutors indicted Yamagami on homicide and firearm costs.

The authorities’s investigation concluded that the group’s practices – together with fund-raising actions that allegedly pressured followers to make exorbitant donations – violated the 1951 Religious Corporations Act.

That regulation permits Japanese courts to order the dissolution of a spiritual group if it has dedicated an act “clearly found to harm public welfare substantially.”

The Tokyo District Court will now make a judgment primarily based on the proof submitted by the federal government, in accordance with Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

This is the third time the Japanese authorities has sought a dissolution order for a spiritual group accused of violating the act.

It additionally sought to dissolve the Aum Shinrikyo cult, after a few of its members carried out a lethal 1995 sarin gasoline assault on the Tokyo subway system, which left dozens lifeless and 1000’s injured, and Myokaku-ji Temple, whose monks defrauded individuals by charging them for exorcisms. The courts dominated with the federal government on each orders.

The Unification Church in Japan has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, pledging reform and labeling the news protection in opposition to it as “biased” and “fake.”

On Thursday, it issued a press release, saying it was “very regrettable” that the federal government was looking for the dissolution order, notably because it had been “working on reforming the church” since 2009. It added that it will make authorized counterarguments in opposition to the order in court docket.

If disbanded, the Unification Church, based by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in South Korea in 1954, would lose its standing as a spiritual company in Japan and be disadvantaged of tax advantages. However, it might nonetheless function as a company entity.

Experts argue that an order to disband the group fully might take years to course of and will even danger pushing the entity’s actions underground.

shinzo abe suspect side profile

Police have idea about what motivated Shinzo Abe homicide suspect

The Unification Church grew to become recognized worldwide for mass weddings, by which 1000’s of {couples} get married concurrently, with some brides and grooms assembly their betrothed for the primary time on their wedding ceremony day.

Public scrutiny of the church in Japan elevated after Abe was fatally shot throughout an election marketing campaign speech final July.

Abe’s alleged assailant instructed police that his household had been ruined due to the large donations his mom made to a spiritual group, which he alleged had shut ties to the late former prime minister, in accordance with NHK.

A spokesperson for the Unification Church confirmed to reporters in Tokyo that the suspect’s mom was a member, Reuters reported, however mentioned neither Abe nor the suspected killer had been members.

Following Abe’s dying native media carried a sequence of reviews claiming varied different lawmakers of the nation’s ruling occasion had hyperlinks to the church, prompting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to order an investigation.

Kishida instructed reporters Thursday that ruling occasion lawmakers had lower ties with the spiritual group, amid considerations that the Unification Church had been attempting to wield political affect.

Since final November, Japan’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs has questioned and sought to acquire paperwork from the Unification Church whereas additionally accumulating testimonies from round 170 individuals who say they had been pressured into making large donations recognized in Japan as “spiritual sales.”

The follow entails asking followers to purchase objects like urns and amulets on the grounds that doing so will appease their ancestors and save future generations, in accordance with Yoshihide Sakurai, a spiritual research skilled at Hokkaido University.

Mahaz News has contacted the Unification Church for an official remark however has not but heard again.

This will not be the primary time the Unification Church has been on the heart of an argument.

Naomi Honma, a former Unification Church member, instructed Mahaz News that between 1991 and 2003, she labored on a authorized case referred to as “Give Us Back Our Youth,” a lawsuit that alleged the Unification Church had used misleading and manipulative methods to recruit unsuspecting members of the general public.

This, they argued, had the potential to violate the liberty of thought and conscience upheld by Article 20 of Japan’s structure.

After a 14-year trial, a number of plaintiff testimonies and a 999-page report outlining the “mind control” means of the group, the trial had its second.

The Sapporo District Court made a landmark ruling in favor of 20 former Unification Church members who had sued the group as a part of the case. It ordered the Unification Church to pay roughly 29.5 million yen ($200,000) in damages for recruiting and indoctrinating individuals “while hiding the church’s true identity” and for “coercing some former members into purchasing expensive items and donating large amounts of money.”

In a separate controversy, between 1987 and 2021, the Unification Church in Japan incurred claims for damages over the sale of amulets and urns that totaled round $1 billion, in accordance to the National Lawyers Network in opposition to Spiritual Sales – a bunch established in 1987 particularly to oppose the Unification Church.

Nobutaka Inoue, an skilled on up to date Japanese faith at Kokugakuin University, is crucial of the methods utilized by the church to recruit and lift funds. However, he additionally notes that a few of its members felt blissful and at peace after making donations to the Unification Church.

Some critics of the Unification Church say the federal government’s actions don’t go far sufficient because it might nonetheless function as a non-religious group. One possibility for the federal government can be to hunt a court docket order stripping the church of its company standing, too, however specialists say that might take as much as two years to course of.

Sakurai, the spiritual research skilled, cautioned that if the Unification Church loses its standing as a spiritual company, it will now not be underneath the management of Japan’s Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, making it tougher to control its actions.

Sakurai pointed to the case of Aum, noting that after the sarin gasoline assault the Japanese authorities revoked recognition of the group as a spiritual group however continued to control it by means of a brand new regulation handed in 1999 that approved continued police surveillance of its actions.

But making a brand new regulation that may permit the federal government to proceed to observe over the Unification Church’s actions – even when one might be handed – wouldn’t work as nicely, Sakurai warned.

“(Aum) only numbers over 1,200 members or so; however, the Unification Church has penetrated many layers of Japan’s society – some members are housewives, some work in factories, others are teachers, so the police cannot watch all the movements or activities of the Unification Church,” Sakurai mentioned.

Some specialists say Japan must do extra to teach the general public about non-traditional religions, which some see as having a rising affect in society.

Kimiaki Nishida, a social psychologist and chairman of the Japan Society for Cult Prevention and Recovery (JSCPR), identified that state and faith had been separated in Japan following World War II, and the brand new structure forbade instructing spiritual research in school.

This made faith primarily a taboo subject, Nishida mentioned, and to today, spiritual training will not be offered at elementary, junior, or excessive faculties in Japan, not like in most EU member states.

This, in accordance with Toshiyuki Tachikake, a professor at Osaka University specializing in cult countermeasures since 2009, has left college students – notably at college campuses – susceptible to being pressured into recruitment.

He and different specialists say extra must be completed to teach younger Japanese about faith.

“We need religious education in schools. Giving someone a broad understanding of different religions and their teachings allows them to make an informed decision on whether they want to join a certain group if a recruiter ever approached them,” mentioned Tachikake.

Source web site: www.cnn.com

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