More victims can be expected if Unification Church cult colludes with continued criminal activities: Japanese lawyer

People read a special edition of a Japanese national newspaper distributed on the street on July 8, 2022 in downtown Tokyo, Japan, as Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot dead the morning of the same day during of a street meeting. Photo: CGV

If the criminal activities of the Unification Church are ignored, it is not surprising that another person like Tetsuya Yamagami could appear and cause more suffering, a Japanese anti-cult lawyer commented on Tuesday about the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The assassination of the former Japanese prime minister placed the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, known as the Unification Church, a religious group founded in South Korea and identified as a sect in China, under the public spotlight.

The assassination set off a firestorm. While it is not clear if such an extreme incident can happen again, what is certain is that the hatred against the Unification Church, which prompted the recent crime, will resurface, the ministry said. Japanese lawyer from the law firm Link Law Office Kito and Partners, Katsuomi Abe, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Abe is also a member of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales in Japan, an association of lawyers that focuses on religion-related scam cases and sectarian activities such as spiritual sales and fundraising. The association, which has about 300 members, was created in May 1987.

Suspect Tetsuya Yamagami had a grudge against the church for his mother’s financial hurdles after he donated more than 100 million yen ($720,000) to the church over 20 years ago, which crippled family finances. He eventually decided to assassinate the former Japanese Prime Minister who had an alleged association with the church.

The so-called spiritual sales take advantage of religious beliefs and people’s anxiety to sell seals, prayer beads and pagodas at high prices by stirring people’s minds with common pranks. For example, they say the ghosts of their ancestors may haunt them and their families may suffer misfortune.

The Unification Church is the most representative spiritual sales group in Japan with 30 million yen (over $217,000) in sales of the so-called holy book to its followers. The Lawyers’ Association was founded to help Japanese Unification Church worshipers resolve legal disputes.

According to Katsuomi Abe, it is very easy for second-generation worshipers like Tetsuya Yamagami, i.e. children of Unification Church worshipers, to cause social problems.

Parents engaged in religious activities, neglected their children, and even gave away huge sums of money that plunged families into poverty. On the other hand, when parents imposed the extreme values ​​of the Unification Church on their children, they are more likely to have induced a psychological trauma of resentment and rebellion in the children.

According to Abe, it is very difficult to count the precise number of members of this group who generally keep a low profile, but it is certain that the number is enormous.

In the announcement released by the National Network of Lawyers on the assassination, the lawyers’ association said that neither the administration nor ruling party politicians have taken action against the Church’s activities. ‘Uniting that have destroyed families over the past 30 years. years.

This shows that there is something wrong in more than one part of Japan and that a combination of multiple factors, including administrative institutions, national consciousness and the media, have contributed to the fact that it there has been no progress on the issue for over 30 years. , Abe told the Global Times.

According to Abe, the National Lawyers Network has been fighting against the Unification Church for a long time and the issues of spiritual sales and fundraising still exist, related lawsuits continue and new victims keep cropping up. In addition, some institutions with little knowledge of the Unification Church still cooperate with it and its related groups.

“We advocated for politicians to distance themselves from the Unification Church and not to accept political contributions from the Church or allow the Church to become involved in their campaigns. nor should they speak out for church-organized activities,” Abe said. , stressing that it is very important for Japanese politicians to cut all ties with the Church in an effort to increase public vigilance against the Unification Church.

Abe also expressed his powerlessness over the issue since the lawyers’ association can only solve some problems through legal methods while they are unable to deal with problems outside the law.

He hopes that this incident can be an opportunity to deepen understanding of the Unification Church and the issue of worship in Japanese society to avoid the recurrence of such a tragedy.

Jerry B. Hatch