Japanese PM shakes up cabinet amid anger over Unification church links

theguardian.com -- Aug 10
Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has removed ministers associated with the Unification church in a cabinet reshuffle aimed at reviving his fortunes amid a public outcry over his party’s ties to the religious movement.

The reshuffle comes just over a month after the murder of Shinzo Abe by a man who has said he targeted the former prime minister over his links to the church, which he blamed for his family’s financial ruin.

Abe, who was shot dead during a campaign speech, had sent telegrams and a congratulatory message to a group affiliated to the church, which has been criticised as operating like a cult motivated by financial gain. Its members are colloquially known as Moonies.

The fallout from his death has exposed longstanding ties between members of Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), with several senior figures, including cabinet ministers, confirming they had attended church events.

The most prominent casualty of Wednesday’s reshuffle, which took place a month earlier than expected, was the defence minister – and Abe’s younger brother – Nobuo Kishi, who acknowledged that members of the Unification church had campaigned on his behalf. ...continue reading

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