Minister deflects while admitting to photo with Unification Church leader

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa at a press conference in July

Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa admitted Friday at a press conference after a Cabinet meeting that he posed in a group photo with Han Hak-ja, the leader of the Unification Church, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in Aichi Prefecture in 2019.

Yamagiwa reportedly learned of the photo after it was pointed out by an outside observer. While admitting to the picture, he said, “I don’t remember it, and I don’t have any documents in my office [related to the photo]. I regret that I could not [confirm] this in advance.”

According to Yamagiwa, he visited Nagoya to meet with a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and “I think I was invited after the meeting and had my picture taken then,” he said.

“I have not attended the group’s meetings,” he added.