Minister Taro Kono congratulates the founding convention of a former Unification Church-affiliated organization!
He also launched the "Inspirational Business Study Group" and mentioned the "dissolution of the organization." He himself denied any relationship. ......
On that day, the banquet hall of the ANA Hotel Tokyo (now the ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo) was packed to capacity with 900 guests.
The unification of zainichi compatriots is the beginning of the unification of the Korean peninsula. The inaugural convention of the “United for Peace and Reunification” began with such a statement, and the crowd shouted with joy, but photographer and journalist Koji Ito, who was covering the event, immediately felt a sense of unease.
I was told that it was a peace organization for Korean residents in Japan, but when the organizer repeatedly used religious terms such as ‘true spirit of love’ and ‘following the will of God’ in his greeting, and even mentioned the Japan-Korea tunnel, I realized that it was an organization affiliated with the Unification Church (United Family Association for World Peace),” he said.
Ito again checked the guests of honor in the convention pamphlet and found names such as a senior Unification Church official (at the time) and the president of Sun Moon University, which is affiliated with the Unification Church.
What surprised me was that three delegates from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan (at that time) were lined up on the stage. After being introduced by the moderator, some of the legislators greeted the audience.
In fact, the 20th House of Councillors election was coming up a week after this event. I thought it was very politically important that these councilors, who must be extremely busy supporting the election, took the trouble to attend the event,” said Ito.
The congratulatory speeches were then read out. Former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Tokuichiro Tamazawa (84) was followed by a message from current Minister of Consumer Affairs Taro Kono (59), who read on his behalf.
I would like to congratulate you on the historic founding of the United for Peace and Unification. I express my deep respect for the high aspirations of all those present. I am convinced that the unity of Korean residents in Japan will lead to the unity of the peninsula, Asia, and the world. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the distinguished guests who have traveled all the way from the Republic of Korea to attend this convention. I sincerely hope that this historic conference will be a success and that the movement will continue to grow.
Other congratulatory speeches came from Hachiro Okonogi (57, LDP), former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, and Kunihiko Muroi (75), secretary general of the House of Councilors in The Japan Innovation Party, but they were introduced only by name.
Mr. Kono took the trouble to mention “guests from the Republic of Korea” in his congratulatory address, referring to Unification Church leaders and others. He must have been well aware that this was an event for an organization affiliated with the Unification Church, and he gave his congratulatory address. At the dinner held after the inaugural convention, Junko Sakurada, 64, was greeted with thunderous applause after the unsuccessful congresswoman called for support for her election. She delivered a tearful speech in Korean. Ms. Sakurada repeatedly referred to what Mr. Moon Sung Myung had said as “the divine word. Not only did he participate in the Unification Church’s joint wedding ceremony, but we found out that he was a devoted believer,” Ito said.
This was in July 2004.
‘Our office was unable to confirm the transmission. In any case, the Consumer Affairs Agency will take firm action to prevent and remedy the damage.
Taro Kono’s office responded to an interview with this magazine. Why, then, did he deny any association with the former Unification Church and related organizations in response to the Asahi Shimbun’s questionnaire?
Political analyst Atsuo Ito asked, “This problem is deep-rooted.
He said, “Taro Kono, you too, I feel. He has been actively involved in the establishment of the “Study Group on Countermeasures against Malicious Business Practices such as Inspirational Business Laws. He has even gone so far as to discuss the dissolution of religious organizations, so the public’s expectations are probably high. He is not the type of person who gets around well, but rather the type who rushes headlong into things. He is not interested in enhancing his own presence on the Unification Church issue, but rather, unusually for the LDP, he is eager to resolve the issue. I appreciate that.”
However, it would be a different story if he had given congratulatory speeches while taking tough measures.
The policy secretary in Kono’s office has served him for a long time, so there is no way he could not have known. Even if the office’s oversight or checking was a mistake, the ultimate responsibility lies with the Diet member himself. Since he has stated that he never sent a congratulatory message to the Asahi Shimbun, he must be held accountable,” said Atsuo Ito.
The Liberal Democratic Party has declared a clean break with the former Unification Church and related organizations. Will the congratulatory speech by Minister Kono, who insisted on his innocence and led the pursuit of the issue, open Pandora’s box?
From the September 23, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO.： Takeshi Kinugawa (1st photo) Koji Ito