Hideyuki Teshigawara, one of the leaders of the Reunification Church, during a news conference in Tokyo, September 22, 2022. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP
Elected five times to the General Council of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD in power), Hidemitsu Ito is a political figure in Gifu Department (central Japan). The 70-year-old former engineer and president of the small company Ito Haikan claims today that he was unaware he had benefited from the support of the Unification Church, which for ten years would have helped him win multiple elections without his knowledge. This may seem unlikely, but the problem of this influence affects a large number of elected officials. The Moon sect eventually became a shadowy force in Japanese political life.
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The movement, also known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification or Moon Sect, is at the center of the probe into the July 8, 2022 assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, would have acted to get his to avenge a family ruined by the cult through donations from his mother. He had found that Mr. Abe had close ties to the religious organization founded in South Korea in 1954 by Sun-myung Moon (1920-2012). The killer was charged on Friday January 13th.
Until his trial, he is struggling to arouse hostility in a Japan hit by revelations about the ties between the cult and the political world, to the point where he has been dubbed by journalist and novelist Akira Tachibana as a “black hero.” ” referred to as.
“Both sides exploited each other”
According to a survey conducted by Asahi newspaper in August and September 2022, 150 parliamentarians, seven out of 47 governors and 290 elected general councilors (more than 10% of the total) admitted links to the sect. Eighty percent are members of the PLD.
For Hidemitsu Ito, the relationship with the Moon sect originated with a visit to their branch by a woman who came ten years ago to criticize sex education in schools, which she felt went “too far”. She preached to a believer. The question has been at the center of the political ideas of the very conservative PLD for twenty years. This woman belonged to the Japanese branch of the Federation of Women for World Peace (WFWP). She invited Mr. Ito to events organized by this structure associated with the Moon sect. “I wasn’t worried because the organization is recognized by the United Nations. Your activities were well intentioned. »
According to a survey by the daily Asahi, more than 10% of the PLD’s elected officials have admitted links to the sect
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