TOKYO — The mother of the assassination suspect in the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was admitted as a member of the Unification Church’s Japan branch on Monday, but the organization denied that it had solicited large donations from anyone.
According to Japanese media reports, the mother’s sizable donations and her subsequent bankruptcy could be the cause. Church leader Tomihiro Tanaka refrained from commenting on the specifics of the donations, stating that a police investigation was ongoing. He acknowledged that some donors had been generous but emphasized that none had been coerced.
According to the reports connecting Abe to the financial difficulties, Tetsuya Yamagami, who was detained on Friday at the scene of the shooting, attributed his family’s financial difficulties to the church.
Tanaka told reporters at a hotel in Tokyo, “Trying to understand how such hatred may have possibly resulted in the killing is totally perplexing.
Tanaka asserted that neither Abe nor Yamagami belonged to the church. He added that Abe was merely aiding the church’s efforts to promote peace.
Although the church has not been identified by the police, reports in Japanese media pointed to the Sun Myung Moon-founded Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, also known as the Unification Church in Japan. According to some reports citing unnamed sources, Yamagami believed Abe had ties to the church.
Tanaka dismissed reports in the Japanese media as conjecture and emphasized that the reason was still unknown.
While running for office in the upcoming national parliamentary elections on Sunday, Abe was fatally shot in Nara, western Japan. Yamagami was captured by the crowd on video and in photographs pulling out a homemade gun. There were two smoke-filled explosions. After collapsing, Abe passed away in a hospital.
Tanaka bowed deeply and said, “This is something that should never have happened, and I feel a deep outrage.” “I am devastated by the loss of a beloved and esteemed leader for Japan.”
These bows are customary in Japan for expressing condolences and do not always imply guilt.
Tanaka wasted no time in distancing his church from the murder, emphasizing that there were no records of Yamagami ever attending a service or event, despite the possibility that he did so as a young child with his mother.
In the recent months, Yamagami’s mother, who joined the church in the late 1990s, had been attending church functions about once a month. According to Tanaka, there were many years in between when she made no appearances.
Despite scandals involving donations at the church, compliance measures were put in place in 2009, and there haven’t been any significant issues since, according to Tanaka.
Each donor decides how much money to give, he said. “Nothing is necessary, but we are grateful to those who make significant donations.”
Tanaka began the news conference, to which only a few members of the media were invited, with a solemn moment of prayer.
Despite making a request, The Associated Press was not given an invitation. Abema, a Japanese media outlet, livestreamed the press conference, and portions of it were broadcast on Japanese TV.
Tanaka said of Abe’s murder, “As a religious leader, I take this extremely seriously.
Yamagami’s mother reportedly declared bankruptcy in 2002, according to Japanese media reports, but Tanaka said details were unknown and records dating back 20 years couldn’t be verified.
Yamagami is being held and unable to be reached for comment.
Over the years, there have been some controversies surrounding the Unification Church. Hundreds of businesses, ranging from hospitals and universities to newspapers and a ballet company, have been launched by Moon since its founding in 1954. These ventures are spread across more than a dozen nations.
Mass weddings, or arranged marriages, which frequently pair followers from different countries and are allegedly intended to create a multicultural religious world, are prominent among the contentious practices. A big wedding was held in Madison Square Garden in New York.
Celebrity actresses have joined the church in Japan, and politicians have courted supporters due to the church’s sway. The Japan division was established in 1959. According to church spokesperson Ahn Ho-yeul, there are 300,000 members of the church in Japan and between 150,000 and 200,000 in South Korea.
The foundation of church doctrine is the notion that God desires world peace and harmony through love in marriage and families.
Most Japanese people practice a blend of Buddhism and Shinto as their spirituality and folklore.