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China ties Japanese law to ‘Moonie’ cult named in Abe Shinzo’s death

Various media, including the Associated Press (AP) and the Chinese Communist Party world times – alleged this week that the recently assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had ties to a South Korean religious cult active in Japan known as the “Moonies”.

Abe’s suspected killer, Yamagami Tetsuya, reportedly confessed to shooting dead the politician while delivering a campaign speech in Nara, Japan on July 8. The 41-year-old Nara resident also reportedly told police, who arrested him at the scene, that his motive behind the murder was linked to a grudge he had against the ‘Unification Church’. The organization is a South Korea-based religious cult popularly known as the “Moonies” in reference to its founder, the late Moon Sun Myung.

On July 15, the AP recalled that Abe made a video appearance at an event loosely affiliated with the Unification Church last fall, writing:

He [Abe] appeared in events hosted by church affiliates, including one in September 2021. In a video shown on the big screen at the meeting of the church-related Universal Peace Federation, or UPF, Abe praised his work for peace on the Korean peninsula and the group’s emphasis on family values.

“I appreciate FPU’s emphasis on family values,” he said in the video. “Let us be aware of the so-called social revolutionary movements with narrow values.”

Reports of his appearance at the 2021 event have drawn criticism from the Japanese Communist Party and cult watchers, including a group of lawyers who have observed the Church’s activities. ‘Unification and supported its alleged victims.

The AP observed on Friday that “the links between the [Unifcation] the church and the main leaders of Japan […] have their roots in shared anti-communist efforts during the Cold War [1947-1991].”

Tanaka Tomohiro, who heads the Japanese branch of the Unification Church, told reporters at a July 11 press conference that “Abe supports the UPF peace movement but he does not was not a member [of the Unification Church]”, according to the AP.

Tomihiro Tanaka, head of the Japanese branch of the Unification Church, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on July 11, 2022. Minister Shinzo Abe "barbaric" murder and would cooperate with police investigations.  - Japan OUT (Photo by JIJI PRESS/AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo by STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tomihiro Tanaka, head of the Japanese branch of the Unification Church, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo July 11, 2022 over the ‘barbaric’ murder of minister Shinzo Abe and allegedly cooperating with police investigations. – Japan OUT (Photo by JIJI PRESS/AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo by STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tanaka ‘denied’ that the Unification Church maintained ‘ties with Abe’ while acknowledging that the former Japanese prime minister ‘sent a video message to his affiliate organization Universal Peace Federation [in September 2021]“, reported Kyodo News on July 11.

Tanaka noted that the Unification Church and UPF “were established by South Korean Moon Sun Myung”.

The Chinese Communist Party led world times published an article on July 14 that claimed Abe’s ties to the Unification Church extended beyond his video appearance at the September 2021 UPF event. The newspaper alleged that the wave Abe’s association with the group had “revealed an ‘open secret’ of Japanese politics – the collusion between certain Japanese right-wing figures and a South Korean-origin cult”.

“Extremist politicians and religious groups in some countries have forged a shameless relationship, which both sides are taking advantage of,” the newspaper said, citing the analysis of unnamed Chinese “anti-cult experts”.

“Close ties between Japan’s decision [conservative] Liberal Democratic Party [LDP] and religious group [Unification Church] were consolidated by political election campaigns,” an alleged Chinese expert on the cult told the world times.

“For politicians, they can gain more support by associating with such religious groups, as the cult’s believers can become their voters,” the unidentified analyst said.

“Additionally, most cults have their preaching channels through which politicians can promote their political views, according to the anti-cult expert. For the cult, it can promote itself, expand its influence and attract more believers,” he added.

Tanaka confirmed on July 11 that Yamagami Tetsuya’s mother was a member of the Japanese branch of the Unification Church. Yamagami Tetsuya reportedly told Nara police that he resented the Unification Church because his mother went bankrupt after donating huge sums of money to the organization. Yamagami reportedly said he intended to kill the cult’s current leader, but changed his target to Abe after believing the Unification Church leader was no longer traveling to Japan from South Korea. South due to Chinese coronavirus travel restrictions.

“The mother of the man who shot and killed former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has donated about 100 million yen ($720,000) to the Unification Church,” Kyodo News reported on 15 July, quoting Yamagami Tetsuya’s uncle.

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Post expires at 5:49am on Friday July 22nd, 2022