FOCUS- The suspect accused of the murder of the former Japanese prime minister wanted “revenge” on this organization, of which his mother was a member.
The mother of the man accused of murdering Shinzo Abe on Friday July 8 is a member of the Unification Church, this organization also known as the “Moon sect” confirmed on Monday. The suspect wanted revenge on the organization by targeting the former Japanese prime minister.
Who was the founder of this sect?
The controversial Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012), born into a farming family in what is now North Korea. He claimed to have had at the age of 15 a vision of Jesus Christ enjoining him to continue his mission so that humanity reaches a stage of purity “without sin“.
A refugee from North Korea, Moon founded his own Church in Seoul in 1954, which very quickly got involved in politics by initially adopting a fiercely anti-communist line, thus attracting the sympathy of the military regime of South Korea at the time. Moon also rubbed shoulders with foreign heads of state, such as Richard Nixon in the United States, whom he had supported during the Watergate scandal. Moreover, in France, in the 1980s, his Church had briefly maintained links with the National Front.
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Thanks to the donations of all its followers around the world, the sect gradually becomes an economic empire present in many sectors (construction, food, automobile, tourism, education, media…) which will make its founder a billionaire. Sun Myung Moon moved to the United States in the early 1970s. Sentenced for tax evasion by the American courts, he spent more than a year in prison in the country in the early 1980s.
What were his missions?
The Unification Church is known to perform mass mass weddings. Concretely, these are ceremonies during which many couples are united by the founder or his wife. In 2018, for example, the latter, helped by her son, married during the same ceremony 4000 couples from 64 different countries and gathered in South Korea. Many of them had only met a few days before and did not speak the same language.
Another of its missions is the fight against the rise of communism, which has its origins in the personal history of Sun Myung Moon. In 1946, the founder of the sect was indeed arrested by the communist authorities who tortured him before leaving him for dead. Sun Myung Moon therefore devotes many sermons to this subject and creates an association organization dedicated to the fight against this ideology through education.
What is its importance in the world?
The sect is now controlled by the widow of its founder, Hak Ja Han, his second wife, with whom he had ten children. The organization claimed in 2012 that it had three million followers worldwide. However, this number is greatly exaggerated, according to experts. Its influence has clearly declined since the 1980s, due to social and political changes in South Korea, various scandals and internal splits, before and after the death of its founder.
In Japan, the Church would have several tens of thousands of faithful. Beyond her country of origin, she is mainly present in the United States, where she is now called “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification“. In 1997, Sun Myung Moon united 30,000 couples in Washington.
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What links with Shinzo Abe?
The suspect in Shinzo Abe’s assassination, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41,resented a certain organizationand decided to kill Shinzo Abe because he thought the former head of government had a connection to it, Japanese police said on Friday. Local media had quickly claimed that Tetsuya Yamagami was angry with her because she allegedly obtained large donations from her mother, putting their own family in great financial difficulty.
Tomihiro Tanaka, the president of the Japanese branch of the Unification Church, confirmed on Monday that the suspect’s mother had been a member of the organization since 1998 and found herself in financial difficulty around 2002.We do not know the circumstances that led this family to bankruptcy.“, he however assured, affirming that the donations for his Church were made on a voluntary basis and that the amounts were free. Tomihiro Tanaka also pointed out that Shinzo Abe had “neverwas one of its members or advisers.
However, organizations close to the Unification Church regularly invite prominent political figures for conferences on the subject of world peace. Former US President Donald Trump spoke online for one such symposium in 2021, and Shinzo Abe was also criticized by a group of Japanese lawyers for sending a video message at a similar event. .
These lawyers, who defend Japanese people accusing the sect of having ruined them, also protested when Shinzo Abe sent a message of congratulations during a large collective wedding ceremony organized by the Church in 2006.
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