1st hearing held on Japan gov't request to dissolve Unification Church

Feb 23, 2024

Tokyo [Japan], February 23: The Tokyo District Court on Thursday held the first hearing on the Japanese government's request to issue an order to dissolve the controversial religious organization Unification Church, local media reported.
In the hearing that lasted for about an hour, Presiding Judge Kenya Suzuki heard arguments from Tomihiro Tanaka, head of the Japan branch of the organization, and the government, Kyodo News said.
The behind-closed-doors session on the request made in October came after a months-long probe into Unification Church's activities, including claims it systematically and repeatedly solicited financially ruinous donations from followers, the report said.
Tanaka told the judge that donations from believers are used for missionary work in and outside Japan, and that receiving donations was part of religious activities, according to Nobuya Fukumoto, a lawyer representing the Unification Church.
The Unification Church has been under renewed scrutiny since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot by Tetsuya Yamagami during a July 2022 election campaign stop. The attacker claimed he targeted Abe over his perceived links to the religious organization.
Yamagami told the police his mother's vast donations to the church brought financial ruin to his family.
Source: Xinhua

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