Unification Church complains about “untruthful” media reports

TOKYO (Jiji Press)—The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, better known as the Unification Church, claimed Sunday that “many” media reports on the religious group over the fatal shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are “untruthful” and “based on speculation.”

The Unification Church made the claim in a statement addressed to news organizations.

The media have reported that the suspected shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, had a grudge against the religious group as his mother, a follower of the group, had made large donations to the group, leading to the collapse of his family, and that he believed Abe was linked to the group.

In the statement, the group said that its official’s remark at a press conference on Monday that the group has not had trouble with its followers since 2009 does not mean there was no trouble at all, adding that it is true that there has been such cases, albeit “very few.”

The group also said the suspect’s harsh family environment does not justify the crime. At the same time, the group said that it cannot help but have a feeling of pity toward the suspect and that it has to admit that it failed to provide sufficient support for his family.