TOKYO ( Associated Press) – Japan’s parliament on Saturday enacted a law to ban malicious solicitations for donations from religious and other groups, primarily aimed at the Unification Church, known for its flamboyant fundraising strategy and close ties to the ruling party. has generated public outrage.
The South Korea-based religious group’s ties to Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party came to the fore following the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe in July.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose popularity ratings have plummeted, tried to quell public anger over his handling of the scandal and replaced three cabinet ministers – one because of his ties to the church, the other for a penitential mistake. reason. One third because of problems with political funding.
The new law, approved during this year’s closing parliamentary session, allows believers, other donors and their families to withdraw their money and prevents religious groups and other organizations from asking for cash through coercion, threats or linking donations to spiritual salvation .
Kishida, who has learned of former followers’ experiences, described their trials as “horrific” and praised the legislation, calling it a bipartisan effort to help victims and their families.
The passage of the law was one of Kishida’s top priorities, which includes a new national security strategy and defense policy to achieve substantial strengthening of the country’s armed forces over the next five years.
Kishida, who earlier this week set a five-year defense spending target of 43 trillion yen ($316 billion), said his government would need an additional 4 trillion yen ($30 billion) a year. Kishida said a quarter of that amount would have to be financed through tax increases.