Unification Church founder was close to Abe’s grandfather: former president

The former Unification Church president said on Tuesday that its founder enjoys a close relationship with the grandfather and father of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, amid growing public scrutiny of the church over Abe’s murder and his attacker’s grudge against the church group. .

Kwak Chung Hwan held a press conference in Seoul, following media reports on the perpetrator’s motive that his mother’s church donations had ruined his family’s finances and he believed the Abe’s grandfather had invited the church to Japan from South Korea.

Kwak Chung Hwan, former president of the Unification Church, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on July 19, 2022. (Kyodo)

Responding to a question about the relationship between the religious group and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kwak said, “President Sun Myung Moon (of the church) was close to former Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.” , Abe’s grandfather.

The former president and former number 2 of the Federation of Families for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church, added that he knew that Moon, the founder of the church , was also close to Abe’s father, former Japanese foreign minister Shintaro. Abbe.

Kwak said political leaders in Japan in the 1960s to 1970s were concerned about leftist movements in the country.

Around this time, Moon published his anti-communist theory which impressed Japanese political leaders, the former president said.

“Donations from Japan have greatly contributed to Moon’s activities around the world,” he also said.

Kwak, who split from the church around 2009 according to media reports, criticized the current leadership of the religious group.

“I feel a deep responsibility (for the attack on Abe) because I heard that the motive of the attacker was associated with a grudge against donations (at the church),” he said.

The attacker, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested after he shot Abe during a street speech in the western city of Nara on July 8. Yamagami’s uncle said the man’s mother donated about 100 million yen ($720,000) in total to the Unification Church.

The church, founded in South Korea in 1954 by Moon and known for its group weddings, has a controversial reputation in Japan, where it claims to have around 600,000 worshippers.

Meanwhile, Yamagami, 41, said he believed he would be dead by the end of July because he had run out of money and had tried to kill Abe before then, according to reports. investigators.

He was at least 600,000 yen ($4,353) in debt, although his bank account contained some 200,000 yen as of July 8 when he shot Japan’s longest-serving leader in the street using a homemade weapon, said investigators.

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Shooter reported Abe’s murder in letter to Unification Church critic

Abe shooter’s mother donated 100 million. yen to the Unification Church

Jerry B. Hatch