Half of Japan governing lawmakers tied to Unification Church

AP -- Sep 09
Japan’s governing party said Thursday that an internal survey found that nearly half of its national lawmakers had ties to the Unification Church, in a widening controversy that emerged after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe was shot to death during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara in July. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, reportedly told police he killed Abe because of his apparent link to the Unification Church. A letter and social media postings attributed to him said large donations by his mother to the church bankrupted his family and ruined his life.

That led to revelations of widespread ties between the governing Liberal Democratic Party and the South Korea-based church, which experts say urges Japanese followers to make large donations to make amends for their ancestral sins, including Japan’s past colonialization of the Korean Peninsula.

LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi said in the survey, 179 of the 379 party parliamentarians reported links to the church and related organizations. The relationships ranged from attending church events to accepting donations and receiving election support. However, Motegi denied there were any ties between the conservative governing party as an organization and the church. ...continue reading

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