Unification Church says Japan members received death threats

Japan Today -- Aug 11
Unification Church followers in Japan and their families have faced harassment and death threats since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the organization's Japanese branch said Wednesday.

The man accused of shooting Abe a month ago bore a grudge against a "certain group" he believed the politician was linked to, police said after his arrest.

Local media quickly identified the organization as the South Korea-based Unification Church, saying the suspect's mother donated 100 million yen (then around $1 million) to the group before declaring bankruptcy.

"Unverified information that (the suspect's) motive was linked to donations made by his mother, our member, as well as excessive media coverage of our organization have prompted members to come forward with numerous reports of harm," said Tomihiro Tanaka, head of the church in Japan.

Some followers faced pressure to resign from jobs, or have seen their children unable to attend school because of bullying, he told reporters in Tokyo.

"Our churches in Japan have been subject to death threats, receiving threatening phone calls saying 'we will kill you'," Tanaka said.

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