Japan’s controversial religious group Unification Church is approaching the government for an arrangement to entrust a fund to aid victims affected by the group’s practices, local media reported on Monday.
The group aims to make available a significant sum, reportedly up to 10 billion yen (67 million U.S. dollars), to be held by the government, national broadcaster NHK cited sources within the organization as reporting.
The fund is intended for potential use in compensating individuals who claim to have fallen victim to donation collection tactics or other activities perpetrated by the group or its affiliates, said the report.
According to NHK, Japanese lawmakers in the Diet are actively deliberating on the most effective means to safeguard the group’s assets, ensuring their availability and accountability for compensating victims.
Concerns have been voiced that the group might attempt to transfer its assets overseas or redirect them to other entities before facing a court-issued order that might revoke its status as a religious corporation.
Last month, Japan’s education and culture ministry decided to seek a court order to disband the Unification Church, following a months-long probe into the controversial group over alleged malicious practices including soliciting financially ruinous donations from members.
The Unification Church has long been criticized for encouraging its followers to make exorbitant donations in the form of “spiritual sales” in return for “karmic benefits.”
It also witnessed intensified scrutiny after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot during an election campaign speech last year over his perceived links to the group.
The assailant, Tetsuya Yamagami, allegedly held a grudge against the group for financially ruining his family by soliciting huge amounts of money in donations from his mother and claimed this factored into his motive for assassinating Abe.
Source : XinHua