Japanese government to question Unification Church

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Keiko Nagaoka explains the “right to ask questions” at a press conference Tuesday.

The government will soon begin investigating the Unification Church — officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification — by exercising the government’s right to question, it was announced Tuesday.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Keiko Nagaoka told a press conference that the government would send a list of questions to the group later Tuesday. It will ask for a reply to be made by Dec. 9.

The “right to ask questions” is a provision under the Religious Corporations Law that allows the government and relevant authorities to request reports from religious groups. The provision can be applied when a religious organization is suspected of violating certain regulations, but it has not been used since its establishment in 1996.

The government is expected to request reports from the Unification Church on matters related to its structure, operations, property, income and expenditures, as part of its investigation into the possibly systemic nature of several allegations against the group.

Nagaoka’s announcement came after the Cultural Affairs Agency received approval Monday for the list of questions from the Religious Juridical Persons Council.