Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Shinzo Abe killing: ‘Moonies’ churchconfirms suspect’s mother is member

The mother of the man accused of assassinating Shinzo Abe is a member of the Unification church, which the suspect has cited as a motive for his fatal shooting of the former Japanese prime minister last week, reports The Guardian.
The church, whose members are colloquially known as Moonies, confirmed at a press conference on Monday that the mother of Tetsuya Yamagami, who was detained moments after he shot Abe from behind during an election campaign speech on Friday, attends meetings about once a month.
Yamagami, 41, has told investigators he had initially intended to target the organisation’s leader, but that he had also intended to kill Abe, whom he claimed had promoted the church in Japan.
He said his mother had made a “huge donation” to the church more than 20 years ago that had crippled the family’s finances.
Tomihiro Tanaka, the president of the Japan branch of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification – more commonly known as the Unification church – declined to comment on the donations, citing the police investigation into Abe’s death in the western city of Nara.
Police have confirmed that Yamagami held a grudge against a specific organisation, but have not named it.
Tanaka said neither Abe nor Yamagami were members of the church, which was founded in 1954 in South Korea by the Rev Sun Myung Moon, adding that the group would cooperate with the police investigation if asked.
Abe, a conservative who became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister in 2019, delivered a congratulatory message via video link at a church event last year. Donald Trump is among other prominent figures to have addressed the group, known for its conservative views, in an attempt to secure its followers’ support.
Abe’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who served as prime minister from 1957 to 1960, was reportedly involved in setting up a political group linked to the Unification church, which shared his anti-communist views.
The Kyodo news agency, citing investigative sources, said Yamagami had developed a deep resentment towards Kishi that he directed towards Abe.
A wake was held for Abe on Monday evening at Zojoji, a large Buddhist temple in central Tokyo, and a private funeral will take place on Tuesday at the same venue. Media reports said a public memorial and other ceremonies would be held at a later date, including in Abe’s constituency in Yamaguchi prefecture, in the south-west.

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