Vice President Taro Aso is representing Japan and endorsing our activities.”
In the October 14, 2022 issue of FRIDAY, titled “Aso Taro Suspected of Belonging to ‘Organization Related to Former Unification Church’ Presided over by Han Huruko,” we reported on the relationship between Aso and the UPF (Universal Peace Federation), a friendship group of the former Unification Church. The report was published in October of this year. The article pointed out that Aso’s name appeared on a UPF pamphlet (Korean version) obtained from a Korean official of the former Unification Church.
In fact, Mr. Aso is not the only one whose name is on this pamphlet. Several names of LDP officials and media representatives are also listed.
UPF is an NGO affiliated with the former Unification Church, founded in 2005 by the late Moon Myung Moon and his wife, President Han Harko, and is perhaps more easily understood as the organization to which former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a video message. The UPF is funded in part by donations from the former Unification Church and by donations from believers.
It was only last year that the UPF launched a group called “Think Tank 2022. The organization is an international network of more than 2,000 experts from the fields of politics, economics, academia, religion, media, and the arts, led by President Han Hako, according to the organization.
Think Tank 2022 is divided into several specialized areas, including the International Summit Coalition for World Peace (ISCP), the Inter-Assembly for World Peace (IAAP), the International Association of Academics for Peace (IAAP), the International Association of Peace Speakers (IMAP), and the International Association of Artists for Peace (IAACP).
At the end of the pamphlet that this magazine obtained introducing the activities of “Think Tank 2022,” there is a “list” by country or region with the names of people who belong to each field, and in the column marked “Japan,” there is one person in Japan, Mr. Aso, who belongs to the World Peace Japan” and that Mr. Aso was the only Japanese member of the International Federation for World Peace and Normalization (ISCP). Furthermore, Aso was also listed as a member of the International Peace Speakers Association (IMAP), which meant that he was “concurrently” serving as a member of two organizations, Think Tank 2022 and the International Peace Speakers Association (IMAP).
At the time, Aso’s office responded to an interview with this magazine, “We are not aware of any such organization or pamphlet. When asked if he would protest or request the removal of the pamphlets, he simply replied , “I would like to see them removed.
The real names of more than 20 politicians and media representatives are on the list.
In fact, more than 20 other names are listed in the “Japan” column of the list, in addition to Aso’s. The main names are those of politicians and media representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The main names are political figures such as former LDP Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, former Deputy Secretary General Takashi Nagao, former Deputy Secretary General Takuji Yanagimoto, and former Lower House member Osamu Uno. In addition, there are names of media representatives such as Shinichi Hen, editor-in-chief of “Korea Report,” former Seoul Bureau Chief of the Mainichi Shimbun, former Seoul Bureau Chief of the Sankei Shimbun, and editorial board member of the Unification Daily.
What in the world is the relationship between them and the UPF?
Kawamura’s office responded in writing.
We have sent a video message to the inaugural meeting of the National Conference for the Promotion of the Japan-Korea Tunnel. As a promoter of friendly relations between Japan and South Korea, I sent this message in support of projects that contribute to friendship between the two countries. I am not aware that I endorsed the activities of the former Unification Church or the UPF, so I would like to confirm the circumstances as to why my name was included in the pamphlet.”
Mr. Nagao wrote in an e-mail, “I have had contact with the organizations involved. Please refer to my contribution to the November issue of the monthly magazine “Hanada” which is currently on sale. The magazine stated that Mr. Uno is also a “Peace Ambassador” for the Council of Peace Ambassadors, an affiliate of the UPF, and that he saw no reason to refuse cooperation with the organization, which works for the realization of world peace and other goals.
Mr. Uno did not respond by the deadline, and Mr. Yanagimoto’s secretary responded, “He himself has said he will not respond.
On the other hand, what about the media?
Mr. Shinichi Hen of “Korea Report” said that he was “unaware” that his name was on the pamphlet, but that he “had an idea about it.
He said, “Around 2014, I published a book titled ‘Tears in Zainichi,’ in which I wrote about the Japan-Korea undersea tunnel.” My theory is that territorial disputes can be alleviated by connecting the two countries through an undersea tunnel, as in the case of Great Britain and France. I have given related lectures, so the former Unification Church must have regarded me as a sympathizer of the Japan-Korea undersea tunnel. I think it is an unbecoming act to use my name without my consent. It is a joke. You did a good job of keeping me informed.”
Katsuhiro Kuroda, Sankei Shimbun’s visiting editorial writer in Seoul, said he was “unaware ” that his name was on the article and that he had a relationship with a former member of the Unification Church for the interview.
He said, “I have contributed to the former Unification Church-affiliated organizations and magazines, given lectures, and so on. I have even been invited to a seminar on the Japan-Korea Tunnel. However, I feel that protesting against them, saying ‘I was taken advantage of’ or ‘It’s inexcusable,’ is in itself a form of publicity for them. (If I am asked to contribute or give a lecture in the future, I will have to take into account the current social situation and public opinion in Japan. If that happens, I think I will have to refrain or refrain from doing so.
Tatsuji Osada, former Seoul Bureau Chief of the Mainichi Shimbun, said, “I did not know that my name was on the article. If it was, I think it came from the Institute for Peace Policy Studies. Mr. Nagata said he had previously received an invitation from an organization called the Institute for Peace Policy Research to attend a lecture. Later, he received a magazine called “World Peace Research,” and the publisher was the “World Peace Professors Academy,” an affiliate of the former Unification Church.
They are supportive of our activities.”
However, although reporters from the Yomiuri, Nikkei, and other newspapers also attended these meetings, their names are not listed in the pamphlet.
Hyun Hong, an editorial writer for the Unification Daily, who says he has no connection with the former Unification Church, said, “Some years ago, I remember the place.
I think I went to cover a big UPF meeting some years ago, although I don’t remember where. I’ve had my name used (without permission) by other Japanese organizations when I exchanged business cards with them. So I don’t react (protest) to every single one of those things.”
With the exception of a few people, is it possible to put the names of people who do not support UPF activities on a pamphlet without their permission? We asked the Korean office of the UPF whether or not they had permission to include the names of those who do not agree with the activities of the UPF, but received no response by the deadline.
The Korean official who spoke to us at the beginning of this report said, “As you can see here, there are many prominent Japanese figures who have been involved in this project.
As you can see here, some Japanese celebrities have endorsed our activities.
Which story is correct? The pamphlet, which lists a number of Japanese celebrities on its list, is still being distributed to believers and others in Korea, and it is certain that it is being used to “authorize” and “endorse” the UPF.