Education Ministry Asks Court to Fine Unification Church

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Japan headquarters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Shibuya, Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The education ministry on Thursday sent out to Tokyo District Court a notice asking it to impose an administrative fine on the religious group known as the Unification Church for failing to answer a number of questions submitted by the ministry.

The district court will examine the plan behind closed doors. If it decides that the punishment is appropriate, a representative officer of the group, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, will face a fine of up to ¥100,000.

Suspecting that some practices of the Unification Church, such as law violations, meet conditions for asking a court to issue a dissolution order to the group, the ministry exercised its right, for the first time in November last year, to question and seek answers from the group based on the religious corporation law.

Based on the right, the ministry has so far requested the Unification Church to report on more than 500 items on seven occasions in total, including information on management of the group, donations it received, its assets and civil lawsuits related to the organization.

But the Unification Church refused to give answers on over 100 topics, mainly on the grounds of religious freedom. For some topics, it failed to respond despite being urged to do so repeatedly.