Unification Church says it has accepted ‘excessive’ donations from mother of Abe murder suspect

Unification Church, which has close ties with Japan’s governing party following the assassination of the former prime minister Shinzo Abehas admitted that it accepted “excessive” donations from the suspect’s mother, and would need to seriously consider whether this led to the murder.

abe died after a shooting during an outdoor campaign speech In July. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, said he shot Abe because of the former prime minister. Unification Church Links, also known as Mooneys, whom he blamed for bankrupting his family. Yamagami’s mother, a longtime member of the church, reportedly donated 100m (£618,000) to it two decades ago, drown your family in poverty,

A senior church official, Hideyuki Teshigawara, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, said at a news conference on Thursday that Yamagami was “deeply saddened” to hear police had led his anger towards the church. to attack.

Teshigawara said he was leading reforms in the church to ensure that his recruiting and donations were not coercive or harmful to followers or their families.

The church has acknowledged that Yamagami’s mother donated more than 100 million yen, including life insurance and real estate, to the group. It said it later returned about half at the request of the suspect’s uncle.

Nobuya Fukumoto, a lawyer for the church, said he considers the donation given by Yamagami’s mother to be “excessive”, and “we have to take it seriously if it hurts”. [the suspect] and led to the result”.

Police investigation into Abe’s murder surfaced Extensive relationship disclosures Between Abe and the governing Liberal Democratic Party, including the South Korea-based church, on their shared interests in the conservative cause.

A party poll found that nearly half of its MPs had affiliations to the church. The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has pledged to cut all such ties, but many Japanese want further explanation of how the church may have influenced the party’s policies.

Kishida has come under criticism for his handling of the church controversy as well as for pushing plans for a state funeral for Abe, and a drop in approval ratings for his government. Abe is one of Japan’s most divisive leaders, and plans for a state funeral next Tuesday have become increasingly unpopular as more details emerge about the party and Abe’s relationship with the church.

On Wednesday, a man set himself on fire near the Prime Minister’s Office Clear opposition to state funeral, The man was severely burned, but was conscious when taken to the hospital. Police said it was a suicide attempt and would not provide further details. Media reports said that he had a note in which he opposed the state funeral.

The suicide attempt amid tight security was a shame for the police, who have already been accused of providing inadequate security to Abe.

State funerals for prime ministers are rare in Japan. Kishida has said that Abe deserves respect as Japan’s longest-serving leader since World War II and for his diplomatic and economic achievements.

Critics say the state funeral was planned in an undemocratic manner, has no legal basis and is an unfair and costly use of taxpayer money. Political analysts say Kishida decided to hold a state funeral to appease Abe’s party faction and consolidate his power.

with the associated press

Read full story at the guardian.com

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