Unification Church May Deposit ¥10 Billion for Ex-Followers; Money Would be Used for Compensation After Dissolution Order

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification

The Unification Church is considering depositing up to ¥10 billion with the government as possible compensation for former followers who claim to have suffered as a result of huge donations to the group, sources close to the Unification Church said.

Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japan branch, is expected to make an announcement about the issue at a press conference Tuesday.

The government filed a request last month with the Tokyo District Court for an order to dissolve the religious group, which is formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. If the dissolution order is issued, the group’s assets would be managed by a court-appointed liquidator, and there have been concerns that the group might conceal assets before that time.

The sources said the group is considering depositing between ¥6 billion and ¥10 billion with the government. If a dissolution order is issued, the money would be used to compensate victims. If it is not issued, the money is expected to be returned to the Unification Church.

The group is apparently seeking to dispel public concerns about asset concealment and to emphasize its intention to reform itself.

Tanaka is expected to admit at Tuesday’s press conference that some inappropriate approaches were made by the group even after its 2009 declaration of full compliance with relevant regulations. He is also expected to apologize to former followers and children of followers who say they have suffered due to large donations.

This would mark the first time Tanaka has made a formal apology to the victims. In August last year, after the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tanaka apologized at a press conference for “the trouble we’ve caused to society.”

The group, however, continues to fight the government’s request for a dissolution order.