Govt Proposes Putting Unification Church under Increased Scrutiny

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The headquarters of the Unification Church in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The culture ministry on Wednesday sought opinions from an advisory panel about its plan to designate the Unification Church as a religious corporation subject to stricter monitoring of its assets under a special law.

If the plan is approved by the Religious Juridical Persons Council, which advises the culture minister, the ministry will start designation procedures promptly as part of efforts to ensure relief to victims of malpractices involving the controversial religious organization.

In October last year, the ministry requested the Tokyo District Court to issue an order to dissolve the organization, formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, chiefly as the group collected massive donations by causing anxiety among believers.

The special law was enacted in December last year to prevent outflows of the assets held by a designated religious corporation before a dissolution order is issued over violations of laws and regulations.

Once an organization is given the designation, it will be obliged to notify authorities of any disposal of its real estate assets at least one month in advance. It will also be necessary for the designated corporation to submit a list of its properties on a quarterly basis, instead of each fiscal year as normally required.

If there is a risk of concealment or dissipation of assets, such an organization will be categorized as a specially designated religious corporation so that victims will be able to view a list of its properties.