The Japanese government on Oct. 13 filed a request with a court for an order to dissolve the Unification Church in a move that will deprive the group, known for its aggressive donation solicitations, of its tax benefits.
The government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the decision to pursue a court order Oct. 12 after a nearly yearlong investigation into the religious organization, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. The request was filed with the Tokyo District Court.
Given the group has been found to have inappropriately solicited large donations from its followers since around 1980, some analysts have criticized the government for its failure to swiftly address the issues surrounding the church.
If the court accepts the government’s request, the Unification Church, founded in South Korea by a staunch anti-communist in 1954, would lose its status as a religious corporation that enjoys tax advantages, although the organization could still continue its activities in Japan.
The Unification Church came under scrutiny after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot during an election campaign speech in July 2022 by Tetsuya Yamagami over his perceived links to the group. (Kyodo)