Unification Church pledges reforms after Shinzo Abe’s killing

The Unification Church acknowledged that it had accepted “excessive” donations from the mother of the man accused of killing former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe.

TOKYO — The Unification Church, whose close ties with Japan’s governing party have emerged after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, acknowledged Thursday that it had accepted “excessive” donations from the suspect’s mother, and that it would need to consider seriously if that led to the killing.

Abe was shot to death during an outdoor campaign speech in July. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police he killed Abe because of his apparent link to a religious group he hated. A letter and social media postings attributed to him said his mother’s large donations to the church bankrupted his family and ruined his life.

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

Teshigawara said he is leading reforms in the church to ensure its recruitment and donations are not forced or harmful to followers or their families.

The church has acknowledged that Yamagami’s mother donated more than 100 million yen ($700,000), including life insurance and real estate, to the group. It said it later returned about half at the request of the suspect’s uncle.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/unification-church-shinzo-abe-japan-rcna49087


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