Home Cartoon budget Japanese PM apologizes for ties to party church, will cut ties

Japanese PM apologizes for ties to party church, will cut ties


By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday his ruling party would sever ties with the Unification Church following a growing scandal sparked by the assassination of former leader Shinzo Abe. last month.

Comfortable and widespread ties between members of Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, many of whom belong to Abe’s faction, and the South Korean-born church have surfaced since Abe was shot while he was giving a campaign speech in July.

The suspect arrested at the scene reportedly told police he killed Abe because of his apparent connection to the church. In a letter seen by The Associated Press and social media posts believed to be his, the alleged shooter said he believed his mother’s large donations to the church had ruined his life.

Some Japanese expressed understanding, even sympathy, as details about the man’s life emerged, creating profound implications for the political party that has ruled Japan virtually continuously since World War II.

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The Unification Church, which was founded in South Korea in 1954 and came to Japan a decade later, has forged close ties with a host of conservative lawmakers over their shared interests in opposing communism. Since the 1980s, the church has been accused of problematic recruitment and religious sales in Japan, adding to criticism of Kishida’s party for maintaining ties despite knowledge of legal disputes and other issues.

Kishida reshuffled his cabinet in early August to purge seven ministers linked to the groups. Among them was Abe’s younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, who acknowledged that church worshipers had volunteered for his election campaigns. Dozens of LDP members have since acknowledged their ties to the church and related organizations.

He told the press conference that he had instructed LDP General Secretary Toshimitsu Motegi to fully investigate the party and compile compliance measures. Kishida said he was rushing the effort, but it could take time as the review will span decades.

Kishida has apologized for the public’s loss of faith in politics over the scandal and his lack of explanation for holding a state funeral for Abe, one of the most controversial leaders in the history of Israel. post-war Japan.

The decision to hold a state funeral on September 27 has divided public opinion. The only other state funeral held in postwar Japan was for former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who signed the Treaty of San Francisco that restored ties with the Allies and ended the American occupation.

Kishida’s office last week allocated a budget of at least 250 million yen ($1.8 million) to invite around 6,000 guests to the funeral to be held at the Budokan arena in Tokyo.

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