Children of Japanese religious group members seek stronger provisions in proposed law

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The lower house of the Diet on May 2021.

A group of people whose parents belong to the Unification Church have submitted a written request to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other parties, seeking revisions to a bill concerning the improper solicitation of massive donations.

The bill is intended to provide relief to people who have suffered as a result of such solicitations and prevent damage from occurring in the first place. Drafted in response to problems involving the Unification Church, which is formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the legislation is currently under deliberation in the Diet.

“The [situation of the] victims and the damage envisaged by the government are far from the reality,” the petitioners said in their request. They called for further investigation into the living conditions of people whose parents belong to the religious group.

The request also cited the need to verify the effectiveness of the law and conduct reviews within one year of its enactment.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party proposed an amendment to the bill saying if a business or organization does not show consideration for people’s free will when asking for donations, and then fails to comply with measures recommended by an administrative agency, that agency can publicize the name of the business or organization.

“What we need is not a requirement to show consideration, but the prohibition [of soliciting donations] and the sure prevention of damage,” said a woman in her 30s who lives in the Chugoku region and whose parents belong to the Unification Church.