Unification Church confirms that the mother of Abe’s confessed killer was one of its members

The Unification Church, the religious group of South Korean origin to which the mother of the perpetrator of the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe belongs and which the confessed killer has blamed for bankrupting his family, has confirmed that the woman is one of its members, but denies having pressured her to make large donations.

Tetsuya Yamagami, who confessed over the weekend that his first intention was to kill the leader of that group for bankrupting his family, has indicated that he had planned the attack in advance and acknowledged that he had visited other places where Abe had made speeches during his campaign.

Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japanese branch of the religious group, indicated Monday that the Unification Church was aware that Yamagami’s family had run out of money, but rejected the idea that it had forced them to continue making donations. She also confirmed that Yamagami had never been a member of the sect.

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Her mother, however, joined the group in 1998 and ran out of money in 2002. Between 2009 and 2017, she had no connection with the group, but returned to attend events organized by the group two or three years ago.

The Unification Church, questioned on previous occasions for its donation system, has claimed that it carried out an internal reform in 2009, when its head admitted several problems when it came to complying with current legislation.

In relation to Abe’s assassination, Tanaka has pointed out that the former prime minister was a figure close to a “friendly group” of the church, which he has differentiated from the organization itself, and has stressed that he was never a member or advisor of the Unification Church.

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“This is what I believe, but Yamagami did not distinguish between one group and another. He thought that since the founders were the same, everything would be the same,” he said, according to The Japan Times.

The Unification Church, known for its deeply conservative ideas, originated in South Korea and has a large following in Japan. It also has a worldwide following, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, and has a headquarters at the Nara train station where the attack took place.

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