Japan Govt Issues Administrative Guidance to Unification Church over Adoption

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Japan headquarters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Shibuya, Tokyo.

The government on Monday issued a letter of administrative guidance to the Unification Church over its adoption arrangements for followers.

In the letter, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry called on the group — officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification — to abide by the Adoption Mediation Law, which prohibits unauthorized mediation.

Speaking at a press conference following a Cabinet meeting Monday, welfare minister Katsunobu Kato said, “We asked them to refrain from any behavior that could potentially be construed as mediating in an adoption service.”

According to the church, 745 adoptions were carried out between families of the group’s followers from 1981 to May last year. Of these, 31 were concluded after April 2018, when the law went into effect.

The welfare ministry’s probe began last November by sending a written inquiry. The organization’s written responses explained the circumstances of the 31 adoptions, saying it had requested that both the adoptive and biological parents submit an “adoption arrangement application form” before and after an adoption.

The ministry’s letter also pointed out that “a third party taking care of a child to help the adoption process go smoothly constitutes mediation,” and “a child has the right to be cared for by the birth parents as much as possible,” citing the Convention on the Rights of the Child among other sources.

The ministry requested the group to refrain from mediation and publish materials in an appropriate manner by following the spirit of the law.

This is the second time since December for the ministry to issue administrative guidance to the organization.