Yamakami Suspects Resent: Former Prime Minister Abe’s Surprising Link to the Former Unification Church | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yamakami Suspects Resent: Former Prime Minister Abe’s Surprising Link to the Former Unification Church

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Yamakami Suspect Claims to Have Shot Former Prime Minister Abe Because of His Relationship with the Former Unification Church

“Former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi was the one who invited the church (from overseas to Japan). That’s why he killed (his grandson) Abe.”

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, the suspect who shot and killed former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (67 years old), reportedly explained his motive to police investigators.

The key point in the case is a specific religious group that the suspect’s mother joined. It is the former Unification Church (now the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification), which she is said to have joined in 1998. It is a Christian organization founded in 1954 by the late South Korean religious leader Moon Myung Moon. The suspect also stated the following about the former Unification Church: “My mother became involved in a religious group.”

His mother became involved in the religious group and donated a large sum of money to it, and he had a strong grudge against her.

His mother became destitute and went bankrupt around 2002. In response to these statements and media reports, the former Unification Church will hold a press conference on July 11. Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the church, said that in general there are believers who donate large sums of money to the church, but he declined to say anything about the mother’s donation.

He said, “As for the motive for the crime and the issue of the donation reported in some quarters, I will avoid mentioning it because the police are still investigating.”

Contents of a message sent to a friendship group

As for former Prime Minister Kishi, whom Yamagami claims invited the former Unification Church to Japan, he explained, “It’s not so much about our relationship with the church.”

He was very understanding of the peace movement promoted by our founder, rather than our relationship with the church. I don’t think he is deeply involved with the church.

As for former Prime Minister Abe, he said, “He expressed his support for the peace movement.”

He expressed his support for the peace movement. He once sent a message to an event hosted by a friendship group.

In fact, in September 2021, former Prime Minister Abe sent a message to an event organized by the Tenkyo Peace Federation, an affiliate of the former Unification Church, to the effect that he “highly appreciated the emphasis on the value of the family. On the other hand, President Tanaka denied any deep relationship with former PM Abe, saying, “I was never registered as a member or an advisor,” and went on to say the following.

“We are perplexed by the great distance that has led to Mr. Abe’s murder out of resentment toward us.”

However, as his own message indicates, it is probably true that former Prime Minister Abe had a certain understanding of the activities of the former Unification Church. Religious scholar Hiromi Shimada, author of “Religion and Politics in Japan” and other books, explains the background.

First of all, it is important to note that the former Unification Church has both a religious and a political dimension. One of its objectives is the unification of the Korean Peninsula. The founder, Moon Sun Myung Moon, had a strong connection with North Korea. In a sense, it is not surprising that politicians involved in Korean affairs would approach the former Unification Church. However, even if Mr. Kishi and Mr. Abe had political ties to the former Unification Church, I do not think they had any religious ties.

“The reason for the large amount of donations is that the former Unification Church has many organizations. It also has affiliated companies. Because of its large size, it probably costs a lot of money to operate. There is talk that ‘regular members’ of the former Unification Church donate about one-tenth of their income, which is a customary idea for Christianity as a whole.”

Yamakami, who holds a grudge against his mother’s large donations and bankruptcy, is accused of taking the life of former Prime Minister Abe. In the aforementioned press conference, former Unification Church President Tanaka expressed the view that “If that is the motive, we must take it very seriously in the church.”

  • Photo by Kei Kato

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