Preparatory work to build ex-Unification Church facility starts in Tokyo

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The organization widely known as the Unification Church has started preparatory work for a new training facility in western Tokyo. The move comes despite concerns voiced by local residents.

Work to tear down an existing building began at the site in Tama City on Monday.

The organization purchased the 6,300-square-meter land in April last year, and has informed the city of its demolition work schedule.

Construction workers began bringing in machinery and other materials from around 8 a.m.

The religious group told NHK on Monday morning that it plans to finish the work by the end of next January. Citizens opposing the plan gathered around the site on Monday, holding banners.

A co-leader of a citizens group said they cannot accept the plan because it could disturb their quiet neighborhood.

The religious organization has been criticized for its alleged dubious marketing practices and solicitation of large donations from its members.

The culture ministry is looking into the allegations to decide whether they warrant an order to remove the organization’s legal status as a religious corporation.

Tama City told the organization in June not to go ahead with any moves to remove the existing building or build a new facility, at least until it becomes certain that such an order will not be given.
The city noted that the site is near a high school and a university, and that local residents are voicing concerns.

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