Additional questions being sent to Unification Church

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A meeting of the Religious Juridical Persons Council is held in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Culture minister Keiko Nagaoka gained approval Wednesday to send additional questions to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church.

Approval came from the 19-member Religious Juridical Persons Council, which includes executives of religious organizations and legal experts, and serves as an advisory body to the minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology.

At the beginning of the council meeting, Kazuo Yana, a state minister at the ministry, said the additional questions were necessary to receive more detailed answers.

“It is important to clarify objective facts that are accompanied by concrete evidence and materials, and then deal with issues surrounding the group impartially based on the law,” he said.

The government’s “right to ask questions” is based on the Religious Corporations Law. The Unification Church has twice sent Nagaoka opinions claiming that it is illegal for the government to exercise the right to ask questions of the organization because the conditions required in the law have not been met.

The second round of questions was formulated based mainly on court records provided by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, which supports people impacted by the Unification Church. The aim of the questions is to help the government confirm if there were any clear legal violations in the religious organization’s soliciting of donations and other activities.

The deadline for the group to submit answers to the new set of questions will be the beginning of next year.

Nagaoka exercised the right to ask questions for the first time on Nov. 22, to which the Unification Church submitted on Dec. 9 eight cardboard boxes of materials, including accounting books and documents on the organization’s operations. The government is poised to scrutinize all answers it receives from the group.

If a conclusion is reached that the Unification Church’s activities have been malicious and organized, while occurring for an extended period, the government will seek a court order to dissolve the organization based on the Religious Corporations Law.