Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was killed by a bullet on July 8. Tetsuya Yamagami, an unemployed suspect, was arrested.
“His mother became involved in a ‘religious group’ and donated a large amount of money to it, which led to the breakup of his family. I had a grudge against her.
He stated that he had a grudge against her.
This is what he said on the day of his arrest. However, television continued to use the phrase “a specific religious group” for several days.
Because TV and newspapers did not report the name of the religious group, the names of several religions were mentioned on the Internet, including the Unification Church. In the midst of this, online news outlets such as “Gendai Business” were quick to report that it was the “Unification Church.
This led to a firestorm on the Internet and SNS, and since that time, video messages and other materials showing the connection between Mr. Abe and the Unification Church have been spreading.
What was the reason why the TV station did not mention the name “Family Association for the Unification of World Peace” or the so-called “Unification Church” at first? A staff member of the news department of a TV station said, “We were almost unable to corroborate the information.
We had almost all the information corroborated, but unless the police or the Unification Church made an announcement, we refrained from mentioning their real names, just in case.
However, the Unification Church side suddenly said they would hold a press conference on the 11th and sent us an invitation to interview them. Since we didn’t know what they would say, we broadcast the conference as a “live” broadcast with a delay of several minutes. In the worst case scenario, if we went down to the studio, we wouldn’t be able to broadcast anything dangerous…”
The TV station was on the “warpath. The Unification Church said at the press conference that although Yamagami is not a believer himself, his mother admits that she is still a believer, and that she attends an event once a month. However, since ’09, the church has emphasized compliance and claimed that there have been no donations or other problems.
She said, “My view was that TV must avoid broadcasting only the Unification Church’s claims. That is why we aired that press conference after broadcasting all the past troubles with high donations, as well as methods such as selling pots and seals, and joint weddings.
Viewers may have wondered, “Why?” when suddenly there were so many broadcasts about the Unification Church, as if a dam had been broken. They may have wondered, “Why? However, we decided to have lawyers who have dealt with the psychic business appear on the program and present both sides of the argument, not just the claims of the church.
From the 12th, Mr. Abe broadcast a video message to the Unification Church’s affiliated organizations, as well as a press conference of lawyers who have been defending the victims. According to the lawyers, there are still many donation problems, and last year alone, more than 300 million yen was damaged. They also revealed that they are selling black books labeled “holy books” to their followers for 30 million yen each.
Taking a life through violence is unforgivable. However, the TV stations may have reaffirmed that it is one of the “missions” of news organizations to report what happened behind the scenes.
Photo： Kyodo News