Why is Japan seeking the dissolution of the controversial Unification Church?

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Japan’s government on Friday asked a court to order the dissolution of the Unification Church branch in Japan following the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022.

The government’s move comes after a months-long probe into the church, formally known in Japan as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

The investigation followed claims by the suspected shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, that he fatally shot Abe because he believed the leader was associated with the church, which Yamagami blamed for bankrupting his family through the excessive donations of his mother, a member.

Earlier in January, Japanese prosecutors indicted Yamagami on murder and firearm charges.

The government’s investigation concluded that the group’s practices – including fund-raising activities that allegedly pressured followers to make exorbitant donations – violated the 1951 Religious Corporations Act.

That law allows Japanese courts to order the dissolution of a religious group if it has committed an act “clearly found to harm public welfare substantially.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/14/asia/japan-unification-church-dissolution-explainer-hnk-dst-intl/index.html.

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