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2024 February 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Shiokawa demands that PM Kishida oust minister in charge of religions for ties with religious cult

February 15, 2024

Japanese Communist Party representative Shiokawa Tetsuya on February 14 at a meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Budget took up the issue of the cozy ties of a minister who is responsible for religions with the Unification Church (now renamed to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification) and demanded that Prime Minister Kishida Fumio remove the minister from the Cabinet.

Shiokawa asked Minister of Education and Culture Moriyama Masahito if he attended a meeting of a Unification Church-affiliated organization and signed a letter of recommendation from this organization at the time of the October 2021 general election. Shiokawa noted that the letter constitutes a de facto “policy agreement” with the subordinate of the anti-communist religious cult.

Moriyama admitted that he may have been recommended by the organization, but said he did “not remember” if he had confirmed the letter of recommendation.

Shiokawa asked PM Kishida, the president of the Liberal Democratic Party, if his party investigated whether there were more LDP lawmakers who had signed letters of recommendation. Kishida answered, “No.”

Shiokawa said that five LDP legislators reportedly admitted to the fact that they had signed forms confirming the recommendation from the Unification Church or documents endorsing the Unification Church’s policy principles, and that another three, including Moriyama, admitted that they had received letters of recommendation from Unification Church-related organizations.

Shiokawa pointed out that the letter of recommendation means the Unification Church’s organizational support for selected candidates during the election campaign.

He asked PM Kishida, “Why did you choose a person with close ties to the organization engaging in illegal activities as the person who filed with the court a request to issue a dissolution order to the cult?” Kishida in reply said that Moriyama currently “does not have any relationship” with the organization.

The Tokyo District Court on February 22 will begin an inquest to hear opinions from both the government and the Unification Church. Shiokawa said, “The minister in question is the filer of the dissolution order request. There shouldn’t be any doubt about him. He should be replaced.”
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