Japan's Entire Government Reshuffles Due To Ministers' Ties With Unification Church
Japan saw it's entire government reshuffled today, 10 August, by its current prime minister, Fumio Kishida
According to Reuters, the cabinet reshuffle was in a bid to remove certain ministers who were tied to the Unification Church. This is to avoid any more disapproval from the Japanese public due to the ruling party's ties with the controversial group.
Kishida announced that the reshuffle was supposed to be carried out in September but was enacted earlier due to the current controversy.
The ministers that were removed were reported to be Minister of Defence, Nobuo Kishi, who is also the younger brother of the former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe; and Industry minister, Koichi Hagiuda. Both ministers were apart of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
The controversy over the LDP having ties with the Unification Church was thrown into the spotlight after the murder of the late Shinzo Abe, sparking the disapproval of the Japanese public
In a recent survey, Kishida's approval rating has dropped from 59% to 46%, the lowest he has received since he took the role as Japan's prime minister.
"He's basically doing damage control. What people are really watching is the Unification Church," political commentator Atsuo Ito said.
It was speculated that Abe was assassinated by gunfire by an individual whose mother was bankrupted by the church, and was who dissatisfied with Abe for promoting the group. The individual's mother allegedly lost JPY100 million (RM3,301,745.60).
Abe, Haguida, and Kishi were alleged supporters of the Unification Church, in which Haguida was even seen attending an event held by the religious group. LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi has spoken out against accusations regarding the LDP's involvement with the church and denies any 'systematic relations'.
The controversial religious group will be holding a conference with foreign media later today.
The Unification Church has a controversial history of being a cult and reportedly solicits excessive amounts of money from its members
While the church denies ever soliciting large amounts of cash from its members, their biggest income is said to be from 'donations' from its members. A Seoul-based spokesperson who spoke against the group, mentioned that Japan is its biggest cash cow.
The group allegedly makes money by asking for donations from its members or selling them religious items.
According to Reuters, the church reportedly has over 600,000 members in Japan alone, with an estimated 10 million members worldwide. Japan is the group's fourth-largest congregation.