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Unification Church says mother of suspected Abe smuggler is a member

#Unification #Church #mother #suspected #Abe #smuggler #member

The mother of the man accused of killing Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe out of spite against an organization belongs to the Unification Church, the group said Monday.

Police investigating Tetsuya Yamagami on suspicion of murder said he targeted Abe because he believed he was linked to a specific group, without naming the organization.

Local media described the group as religious and said Yamagami resented his mother’s large donations to the organization, which caused the family financial difficulties.

On Monday, the Japanese branch of the Unification Church confirmed that Yamagami’s mother, whose name is not given, is a member but said she had no information about financial contributions.

“Suspect Yamagami’s mother is a member of our church and attends our meetings about once a month,” Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the church in Japan, told reporters at a hastily organized news conference in Tokyo.

He said any donations she made were being investigated by police and he could not comment further, promising to work with investigators.

“There are people who donate large sums of money. We are grateful to them because they would not give such donations without being willing,” Tanaka said, denying that there are “donation quotas” for individuals.

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

It is believed to have hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide, particularly in Japan and the United States, and its teachings are based on the Bible but with new interpretations.

Yamagami’s mother joined the church around 1998, and the organization learned that she had filed for bankruptcy around 2002, Tanaka said.

“We do not know the circumstances that led to bankruptcy of this family.”

Tanaka said the church was appalled by Abe’s killing, calling it “heartbreaking” and noting that the former prime minister is not a member, although he has spoken at events organized by affiliated groups.

“Abe expressed his support for the world peace movement led by our leader … but he was never a registered member or advisor to the religious group.”

Investigators have told local media that Yamagami originally wanted to kill the leader of the group, which he opposed, but chose to target Abe instead because he believed he was connected to the organization.

A wake will be held for the former prime minister on Monday ahead of his funeral on Tuesday.

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#Unification #Church #mother #suspected #Abe #smuggler #member

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