Statement on Fatal Shooting of Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

July 12, 2022

National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales
Representative Lawyers:
Masaki Gouro (Sapporo)
Shuji Nakamura (Niigata)
Hidemasa Kawada (Okayama)
Keiichi Hiraiwa (Yokohama)
Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Tokyo)

Chief Secretary:
Yasuo Kawai, Lawyer

The recent despicable act of taking the life of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by the accused Yamagami must never be tolerated for any reason. We express our sincere condolences and pray that his soul will rest in peace.
The media have reported that the accusedfs motive was resentment of his family disruption due to his mother's large donations to the Unification Church. If this is the case, the suffering of the accused due to the motherfs overly royal church activities, including huge donations, is well imaginable. As lawyers, we have witnessed the distress, anguish, and economic sufferings of too many former members, current membersf families, and gsecond-generationh ex-members of the Unification Church, and we have long been deeply concerned with this dire reality. In this context, the accused Yamagamifs deep anguish and resentment against the Church are understandable. For more than 30 years, neither the government nor politicians of the ruling party have done anything about the activities of the Unification Church that are devastating families. While the despicable act by the accused is unforgivable, it also raises the renewed question of how society should address this issue.
Former Prime Minister Abe has repeatedly sent messages to events hosted by the Unification Church and one of its front organizations, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). Especially on September 12 last year, he sent a video message to one of such events titled gTHINK TANK 2022 Rally of Hope Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.h In his video message, the former Prime Minister said, "I pay tribute" to Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, the successor to the founder of the Church, the late Sun Myung Moon (deceased in 2012). This message was a great shock for those whose lives and families have been disrupted or are on the verge of disruption because of the Unification Church. We expressed our stern protest over the message.
We have no objection to politicians expressing their opinions and acting based on their political beliefs.
However, we must ask everyone again to refrain from supporting the Unification Church and its front entities. The Unification Churchfs tactics of recruitment and solicitation of donations have been repeatedly recognized as illegal in court.
We hope that people will understand that financial exploitation using spiritual-sales techniques and recruitment through Video Centers under false identity by the Unification Church devastate the lives of the recruited members and their families.
We also wish for media reports and SNS postings to be made with care for current members of the Unification Church, including 2nd and 3rd generation members, who may get hurt or distressed.