Japan seeks more information from Unification Church over adoptions

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Welfare minister Katsunobu Kato said Friday that his ministry will send an additional letter of inquiry to the religious group known as the Unification Church to confirm more details about adoptions among its followers.

“We need to check further details,” Kato told a news conference regarding the alleged role of the group, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in adoptions of children among followers.

The ministry will consider an “appropriate response” after examining the answers from the group, he said.

According to the ministry, the additional letter will ask about adoption cases among the group’s followers since the adoption mediation law came into force in the fiscal year beginning April 2018.

The ministry will also send a letter asking the Unification Church to abide by the law, while notifying prefectural governments to thoroughly implement the law.

Last month, the ministry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government sent a joint letter of inquiry to the group, asking how many adoptions had occurred among followers, whether the group had any involvement in them and whether the group received any money for such cases.

The ministry received answers from the group Monday but has not disclosed the contents.

The law stipulates that businesses to mediate adoptions require prefectural government permission.

If an entity mediates adoptions repeatedly and continuously, the practice could be regarded as a violation of the law regardless of whether payments occurred between relevant parties. The maximum punishment for the violation is one year in prison or a fine of ¥1 million ($7,300).

The Unification Church has said that 745 adoptions took place among its followers between 1981 and May this year.

The group has acknowledged its involvement in past cases but has denied that recent cases are illegal, saying they occurred through connections among followers. The group has also denied receiving any money for adoptions.

Content retrieved from: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/12/09/national/unification-church-abortions-extra-info/.

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