Victims critical of new law to track Unification Church assets

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The Diet passed a law to keep tabs on the Unification Church’s assets, but victims of the religious organization’s financial abuse criticized the new legislation, saying it fails to block property transfers.

Under the law enacted on Dec. 13, the church is required to notify the government in advance of any real estate sales. The organization also must submit a list of its assets to the government every three months.

The new law also provides financial support for former church members suing the organization.

While welcoming the law’s potential benefits for the church’s victims, lawyers representing the victims said the law fails to control the church’s property, which should be secured and liquidated to compensate the victims.

In a statement, the Lawyers from Across Japan for the Victims of the Unification Church said, “The law will not effectively prevent the church from hiding its assets because it lacks the necessary provisions to preserve them.”

The church is accused of financially exploiting its followers for decades through the manipulative sales of overpriced religious items and demands for excessive donations.

The government requested a court order in October to dissolve the church, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Victims fear the church might transfer its assets to its headquarters in South Korea or elsewhere before the finalization of the order, leaving no legal means to claim them.

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