Children of Unification Church followers say proposed new law is insufficient

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People whose parents have ties with the Unification Church attend a press conference in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

Six men and women whose parents have ties with the Unification Church have criticized the outline of a new law to remedy damage caused by the religious group and prevent future harm, saying its rescue measures for the children of followers are insufficient.

According to the outline, the children of religious group followers and others would be able to demand money that would have been spent on their upbringing in the future, when they seek to have revoked donations that were made by the followers.

However, the six men and women told a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday that this would not help children affected by their parents’ religious activities who were no longer dependent on their parents.

One of the six was a woman in her 30s living in the Kansai region. She said she had struggled with poverty since she was a small child because her parents donated about ¥100 million in total to the religious group, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

She started working right after junior high school and has moved from job to job, the woman said.

“I had to become independent when I was very young, and I could barely make ends meet,” she said. “I want the government to come up with measures to ease the suffering of people like me.”

Questions received

The Unification Church said it had received a list of questions sent by the Cultural Affairs Agency on Tuesday under the government’s “right to ask questions,” a provision under the Religious Corporations Law.

The questions take up several sheets of A4-size paper and list documents to be submitted, including those related to property holdings, the religious group said Wednesday.

The group said it also received questions sent by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Tokyo metropolitan government on the adoption of followers’ children.

“We will prepare to answer to the questions based on their content,” a Unification Church official said.