TORINO, Italy, July 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Masumi Fukuda, an award-winning Japanese journalist, claims that the campaign to strip the Unification Church, now called Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, of its status as a religious organization in Japan, uses the controversies following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a pretext and is in fact politically motivated.
Fukuda’s detailed investigation appears in Japanese in the July 2023 issue of the Japanese magazine Monthly Hanada and in English in the religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter, which covers often East Asia and has been the most quoted source on China in the yearly reports on freedom of religion of the U.S. Department of State for four years in a row.
The four Bitter Winter articles are available at these links
Since 1987, an organization of attorneys called the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales has called for the dissolution of the Unification Church, claiming it finances itself by selling religious artifacts for exorbitant prices.
In her detailed investigation of the Network and its campaigns, Fukuda shows how the so-called “spiritual sales” were carried out by individual members of the Unification Church, not by the church itself, which in fact persuaded them to stop these activities long before the Abe assassination. Fukuda also reveals that most of the lawyers who founded the anti-Unification-Church network in 1987, and continue to agitate for dissolving the religious organization today were affiliated with the Communist Party of Japan or the former Socialist Party. Beyond the pretext of the “spiritual sales,” their aim was to destroy the Unification Church and its affiliate organizations that offered significant public support to anti-Communist causes and provided volunteers for the electoral campaigns of Abe’s party. Fukuda is not a member of the Family Federation and had little interest for religious issues, also claims that in the court cases against the Unification Church some attorneys associated with the National Network Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales falsified documents and fabricated evidence.