Mainichi Shimbun team wins Japan journalism award for Unification Church coverage

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TOKYO — A Mainichi Shimbun team covering the controversial Unification Church and its efforts to connect with the Japanese political circle based on 615-volume records of remarks by the group’s founder Sun Myung Moon has won the journalism grand prize by the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Union.

The union announced the winners for the 27th journalism awards on Jan. 23. The Mainichi Shimbun team is made up of reporters from the Digital News Center and Seoul Bureau. They translated and analyzed records of sermons delivered by Moon (1920-2012) in Korean to followers of the Unification Church, now formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in South Korea. The records are publicly accessible online. The team reported that Moon urged that the church strengthen ties with Japanese Diet members, mainly those belonging to the Seiwakai faction, or the Abe faction, that used to be headed by then Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s father.

The newspaper union’s selection committee released commentary, saying, “We praise the exclusive coverage nature of the news that pinned down close ties between the Unification Church and politics as fact through analysis of a vast number of documents. The report prompted by information available on the internet is a good example of ‘open data journalism.'”

Meanwhile, the 17th Keiichiro Hikita award, which honors news coverage that protects human rights and promotes confidence in the press, went to an investigative reporting team headed by Yuki Takahashi at the Mainichi Shimbun Business News Department covering Japanese local fire brigades exploiting firefighters’ pay.

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1 comment

  1. News outlets in Japan focused on reporting about the Unification Church for months exposing its ruthless fund raising schemes and political influence.

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