Church That Could’ve Led to Abe Shinzo’s Murder Responded to Allegations

The man who killed former the former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, is 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami. He had believed that Abe was linked to and promoted a religious group.

According to Japanese media, Yamagami said that his mother got wrapped up in a religious group, and went bankrupt donating to it. Although the religious group wasn’t named by the police, Yamagami was quoted saying that he “resented it”.

He had also told the police that he initially planned to attack a leader of the religious group. However, he did intend to also kill Abe, who he believed had ties with the group.

Yamagami denied that his assassination had a political motive.

It didn’t take long for people to find the identity of the religious group.

Shooter’s Mother Had Joined Unification Church in Japan

Unification Church is a large global religious movement whose members are called Unificationists. Their beliefs are based on a book written by a Korean Messiah claimant, Sun Myung Moon, who’s also involved in businesses and have also engaged in social and political causes.

Founded in 1954, its members have links to commercial, educational, political and other types of organizations.

The group has often been controversial, with some calling it a cult. In fact, over in Singapore, the group was banned in 1982, two years after they were set up in Singapore. Back then, the Minister of Home Affairs said its activities were “prejudicial to public welfare and good order”, and banned it on the grounds that it was a cult.

With people linking Yamagami’s mother to Unification Church, Reverend Tomihiro Tanaka, who leads the Japan branch of the Unification Church, came out to address the allegations via a press conference that was also streamed online.

He said that Yamagami’s mother did join the church in the late 1990s, and had attended events once every month. The last time she went to an event was two months ago.

However, both Yamagami and Abe are not members of the church. Abe is also not an advisor to the church.

Abe, however, had offered video messages to an affiliated group. One example cited was that Mr Abe “expressed his support for the world peace movement led by our (Unification Church) leader”.

The church do have links with Mr Abe’s grandfather, the late prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, instead.

In other words, if Rev Tanaka’s words are to be trusted, Abe doesn’t have any direct link to the church.

Donations to Bankruptcy?

Yamagami has claimed that his mother paid the group exorbitant dues that left his family bankrupt and broken.

Without going into specifics about Yamagami’s mother’s donations, Rev Tanaka said that there were different types of donations, and that it was ultimately the members who decided on how much to donate.

He claimed that the church has never coerce members to pay any dues.

However, the church knew about Yamagami’s mother’s bankruptcy in 2002, but did not know how she became bankrupt.

He added, “We have asked our colleagues in Nara and there was nobody who knew what happened then. They knew only that his mother declared bankruptcy. After that, there were no records of the church asking for large donations from the family.”

Wait—after that, there were no records of the church asking for large donations from the family?

So what happened before that?

It was, however, a small press conference that was open to just select domestic media outlets, so there weren’t any clarifications.

He had only started the press conference to “dispel rumours” after some media outlets reported that the church was responsible for the tragedy “as fact”.

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