Assassination of Shinzo Abe: The suspect targeted the Unification Church of which his mother was a member


Police say the man accused of murdering former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was targeting the Unification Church to which his mother allegedly made large donations, putting the family in financial difficulty. 

Police investigating Tetsuya Yamagami, a suspect in the murder of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he targeted the politician because he believed he was linked to a 'particular group', without naming the 'organization.

Japanese media have since mentioned, still without naming it, a religious organization and declared that the mother Tetsuya Yamagami would have made significant donations to this organization, putting their family in great financial difficulty.

On Monday, the Japanese branch of the Unification Church confirmed that Yamagami's mother was a member of the church, but said she had no information about any financial contributions.

"The suspect Yamagami's mother is a member of our church and attends our events about once a month," Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the church in Japan, told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference in Japan. Tokyo.

He said police were investigating the donations she made and could not comment further, pledging to cooperate with investigators.

“There are people who give large sums of money. We are grateful to them because they would not make such donations unintentionally,” Mr Tanaka said, denying the existence of donation “quotas” for individuals.

Officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the church was founded in Korea in the 1950s by controversial figure Sun Myung Moon who died in 2012.

She is said to have hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, especially in Japan and the United States, and her teachings are based on the Bible, but with new interpretations. It is also known as the "Moon sect" in the West.

Yamagami's mother joined the church around 1998 and the organization learned she had been in serious financial trouble around 2002, Tanaka said.

"We don't know the circumstances that led this family to bankruptcy."

Tanaka said the church was horrified by Abe's murder, calling it 'heartbreaking', and noted the former prime minister was not a member despite speaking at organized events by affiliated groups.

“Abe has expressed support for the global peace movement led by our leader...but he has never been a registered member or adviser of the religious group. »

Investigators claimed to local media that Yamagami originally wanted to kill the leader of the group he resented, but decided to target Abe instead, believing he was connected to the organization.

A wake for the former prime minister is being held on Monday, ahead of his funeral on Tuesday.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: of Light

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Summary of news from March 31, 2023

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