Japan to toughen rules on donations to religious groups after Abe murder

The Japanese government will propose a new law to prevent large and harmful donations to religious groups, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday, after The Assassination of Shinzo Abe thorough review of the Unification Church.

Kishida has been battling criticism of the sect’s links to politicians since former Prime Minister Abe was shot dead in July.

The man accused of Abe’s murder is said to have angered the Unification Church for the massive donations his mother made that bankrupted the family.

Kishida said he met people who had suffered because of the large financial contributions to the church, which denies wrongdoing and vows to prevent “excessive” donations.

“It was heartbreaking to hear their stories,” the Prime Minister told reporters as he described plans to curb “malicious donations” in which members of religious groups are coerced into donating often excessive amounts.

“With regard to new legislation to assist victims of malicious donations…the government will do its utmost to bring the bill forward as soon as possible,” hopefully during the current parliamentary session which ends on 10 December, he said.

Details of the law are being discussed, but it will focus on “prohibiting socially unacceptable and malicious recruitment practices” and “allowing donations to be recalled”, Kishida said.

Last month, he ordered a government investigation into the Unification Church, officially known as the Federation of Families for World Peace and Unification.

The investigation could lead to a dissolution order, which would cause the church to lose its status as a tax-exempt religious organization, although it may continue to operate.

Founded in Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon, the church – whose members are sometimes referred to as “Moonies” – rose to worldwide prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.

It’s famous for its mass wedding ceremonies, and church-affiliated groups have gotten speeches from powerful speakers over the years, including Abe and former US President Donald Trump, who weren’t from the church. sect.

Government approval ratings have plummeted in recent months and recently hit the lowest level since Kishida took office last year when a Japanese minister resigned following scrutiny over his ties to the church.

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