Unification Church Proposes to Deposit Up to ¥10 Billion with Government for Compensation (UPDATE1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japan branch of the organization, speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Unification Church on Tuesday announced its proposal to deposit up to ¥10 billion with the government as possible compensation for those who claim to have suffered as a result of making huge donations to the group.

Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japan branch of the organization, said at a press conference that he would propose depositing ¥6 billion to ¥10 billion with the government.

Tanaka acknowledged that the group has received a string of complaints and requests for donation refunds from followers and former followers, and said, “I must sincerely apologize to those who have had a hard time due to our inadequacies, which derive from a lack of guidance in our group.”

The government filed a request last month with the Tokyo District Court for an order to dissolve the group, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Tanaka said the proposed deposit would be held until the court’s decision on the dissolution order.

If the dissolution order is issued, which would result in the group losing its status as a religious corporation, the group’s assets would be managed by a court-appointed liquidator, and there have been concerns that the group might hide its assets before that time.

On the other hand, Tanaka said that he would fully contest the dissolution order request from the government, saying it was “unacceptable from the standpoint of religious freedom.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno avoided directly commenting on the Unification Church’s proposal at a press conference on Tuesday. “In general, whether a deposit is allowed or not will be determined in accordance with the laws,” he said.