Fumio Kishida, Japan’s Prime Minister, has ordered an investigation into the Unification Church and its ties to the Liberal Democratic Party. Since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July, the Church has come under intense scrutiny.
Tetsuya Yamagami, the assassin, claimed he killed Prime Minister Abe because of his ties to the Unification Church. He went on to blame the church for his family’s bankruptcy, claiming that his mother, a devout member, gave the sect over 100 million yen ($672,000).
The news prompted other relatives of church members to come forward and describe how the church had ruined their family and its connection to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). According to Aljazeera, an internal party investigation revealed that nearly half of the LDP’s national legislators had church ties ranging from attending church to receiving electoral donations.
In the midst of a public outcry, Prime Minister Kishida made the announcement to parliament on Monday. His support had dropped by more than 35%, the lowest level since he took office last year. He stated that he requested an investigation due to the large number of victims impacted by the church.
The Unification Church, which has over 100,000 followers in Japan, has denied any wrongdoing, prompting activists to file a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee in September. They referred to it as an intolerance, discrimination, and persecution campaign.