Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose popularity has been plummeting in the polls, has been forced to reshuffle his government since links between the Unification Church, better known as the “Moon Sect”, and the ruling Liberal Democrat party. These links arose after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 8. His murderer reproached him for his association with the sect, which he accused of causing the ruin of his family.
With Frédéric Charles, RFI correspondent in Tokyo
Fumio Kishida is removing from the government and his Liberal Democratic Party the ministers and senior officials most openly linked to the Unification Church or Moon sect. It’s a clean sweep. Kishida’s government is at its lowest level of popularity since he took office in October 2021, at 46% compared to 59% three weeks ago.
Shinzo Abe’s brother, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, loses his job. In poor health, he confessed that members of the Moon sect had volunteered for his election campaigns. Prime Minister Kishida, who swears to have no relationship with the Unification Church, keeps top ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Economy in his posts.
A sect that has infiltrated Japanese politics
Most Japanese demand explanations about the relationship between the political class and the Moon sect. They oppose the organization of a state funeral for Shinzo Abe. The head of the government responds that his ministers will have to “thoroughly examine” his links with the Unification Church. In other words, to break them: “it is a necessary condition”, he adds.
Since its founding in 1954 in South Korea by “reverend” Sun Myung Moon, the problem is that the Moon sect has infiltrated almost the entire Japanese political world, except for the demonized communists. Another more powerful religious organization, the Soka Gakkai, is part of the ruling coalition through its Komeito party.
The Moon sect generates most of its income in Japan, where it owns several companies. For 30 years, a group of Japanese lawyers has sued the sect in civil courts, claiming the equivalent of 900 million euros in damages for former followers.