Japan to launch investigation into Unification Church

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

The government is planning to investigate the Unification Church based on the Religious Corporations Law, according to government sources.

The government will use its “right to ask questions” under the law to look into the operations and management of the group, which is officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the sources said. This will be the first time for the government to exercise the right with regard to a religious organization.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reportedly will soon instruct Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Keiko Nagaoka to launch the probe. The government hopes the investigation will clarify whether the Unification Church violated any laws or regulations.

Depending on the findings, the religious group could face a dissolution order.

The right is specified in a provision that allows the ministry and prefectural governments to request reports and quiz religious organizations and their executives. The provision was added to the revised law, which came into force in 1996.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Agency is considering taking action against the group following reports of its “spiritual sales” tactics and large donations made by followers.