14 of the Japanese opposition party have had relations with the Unification Church

Seven members of Japan’s Democratic Constitutional Party, including a former leader, have been confirmed to have had relations with organizations linked to the Unification Church, bringing the total number of the country’s largest opposition party to 14, he said Tuesday after an internal investigation.

The politicians’ relationship with the church, officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, has become a source of controversy since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was killed on July 8 for alleged ties to the religious group by a gunman who resented it.

According to the investigation, Yukio Edano, who led the party from its founding in 2017 until its defeat in the 2021 general election and served as the main government spokesperson during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, was presented in a 2006 article from a round table in the church. -affiliated Sekai Nippo newspaper.

Yukio Edano, then leader of the Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan, attends a press conference in Tokyo on November 12, 2021. (Kyodo)

Additionally, the investigation revealed that House of Representatives lawmakers Jun Azumi and Akio Fukuda were both interviewed by the newspaper in 2010 and that a church-related organization paid a fee of 10,000 yen ( $72) for a party hosted by lower house lawmaker Kaname Tajima.

Regarding the new links that have been revealed, Chinami Nishimura, secretary general of the CDPJ, apologized at a press conference on Tuesday and added that it “goes without saying that we should reflect” on the conclusions.

But she also cited the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s rejection of her August 3 petition to establish a body to discuss issues around the Unification Church to say it should “openly investigate the matter. instead of leaving it to the discretion of individual legislators”.

The LDP has grappled with revelations that many members have had links to the church and its affiliates.

The church, founded by a staunch anti-Communist and known for its mass weddings, has drawn attention to ‘spiritual sales’ in which people are coerced into buying jars and other items at exorbitant prices .

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