Lawyers ask govt ministers to seek dissolution of Unification Church

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Lawyers working for the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales hold a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

A group of lawyers helping those who have been affected by the activities of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church, said this week the group had sent a written request to certain officials, including the education and justice ministers, demanding that they seek a court order for the dissolution of the religious group based on the Religious Corporations Law.

The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales claims in the written request that there are several court rulings that recognize under the Civil Code the illegality of the church’s evangelistic activities and its solicitation of donations. The lawyers’ group also claims that the religious group has long violated religious freedom and property rights.

Although the religious group claims that it has been implementing reforms since September to stop asking its followers for excessive donations, the written request argues that such a claim is “not credible” because the religious group has no intention of actively investigating the harm it caused in the past.

“We can’t expect [the religious group] to cleanse itself. We have no choice but to request its dissolution,” Yasuo Kawai, secretary general of the lawyers’ group, said at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

In response, the religious group commented, “Our understanding is that there was no conduct as an organization that would constitute grounds for dissolution.”