Last October, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office. He’s a member of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, replacing former LDP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In July, Abe was assassinated by someone who hated the Unification Church, to which the LPD is linked to. The Unification Church has been referred to as a “cult." It’s known for its mass weddings, fishy fundraising tactics, the inclusion of guns in religious ceremonies, and conservative, anti-communist values. There’s been public criticism of LPD’s association with the group.
At the moment, Kishida is reshuffling his cabinet, with seven ministers with known ties to this church being removed from his cabinet. Kishida himself isn’t associated with the church and has said that the church’s policies haven’t “unjustly influenced party policies." But, his approval ratings are the lowest they’ve been since he took office at 46%. Many Japanese people are concerned that many politicians’ ties to the church haven’t been fully disclosed. Now, plans to host a state funeral for Abe next month have been overshadowed by this whole scandal.
“We continue to take steps in the same direction with people who want to protect democracy and who share our vision of what kind of country Japan should be. All we are doing is joining hands to make a better country with politicians who take a stance against communism," Japanese Unification Church leader Tomohiro Tanaka said in a press conference yesterday.
“Criticism over the Unification church caused a big drop in public support for the administration and stopping that decline was a big reason for bringing forward the reshuffle of the cabinet and major party positions," said Shigenobu Tamura, a political commentator who used to work for the LDP.