In Japan, there was a government reshuffle over some ministers’ ties to the controversial    Unification Church

In Japan, there was a government reshuffle over some ministers’ ties to the controversial Unification Church

In Japan there was a government reshuffle over some ministers

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a government reshuffle on Wednesday because of some ministers’ ties to the controversial Unification Church. The religious movement, seen by many as a sect of sorts, has been the subject of much talk in recent weeks following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police his mother made large donations to the church and accused his political supporters of impoverishing his own family. Among these, Yamagami said, would have been Abe, who was a member of the Unification Church but not a member (he was in fact of the Shinto faith). However, the investigation into Abe’s murder is still ongoing and no definitive conclusions have been reached.

After Abe’s assassination, consensus on Kishida and his government plummeted (from 59 percent to 46 percent according to a recent poll), in part because of some clergy’s ties to the church. Kishida had therefore promised in the past few days that he would ask his ministers to clarify the matter and that things could change. The replaced ministers include Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, also Abe’s younger brother, and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda.

– Also read: What is the Unification Church