Unification Church Founder Entered Japan Aided by LDP Official

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo / Reuters file photo
Left: Shin Kanemaru, Right: Sun Myung Moon

SEOUL — Diplomatic documents newly released by South Korea’s foreign ministry have revealed that Unification Church-founder Sun Myung Moon was allowed to enter Japan in 1992 through the intervention of Shin Kanemaru, then vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party. Moon, whose church is formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, had served a prison sentence in the United States for tax evasion, would not have been allowed entry into Japan under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.

The documents suggest that Kanemaru, who was eager to normalize Japan-North Korea relations, provided special consideration to Moon, who had deep connections with influential LDP figures and was a conduit to North Korea.

The events were described in two diplomatic cables sent on March 31, 1992, by the South Korean ambassador to Japan to Seoul’s foreign minister. When the South Korean Embassy informally inquired with the Japanese Foreign Ministry about Moon’s entry, the Justice Ministry initially intended to deny entry. However, after Kanemaru interceded for Moon, entry was granted.

According to the cables, Moon visited Japan from the United States between March 26 and April 1 to give a speech at the invitation of a group of LDP lawmakers and others. On March 31, Moon met with Kanemaru for about two hours at a hotel in Tokyo.

At a press conference on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said: “I understand that he was granted special permission to land and enter the country at the discretion of the justice minister. I have heard this was appropriate based on judgment at the time.”