Moriyama's Church Ties Pressure Kishida

Moriyama's Church Ties Pressure Kishida

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has faced pressure to dismiss Education Minister Masahito Moriyama due to his past connection with the Unification Church. Moriyama admitted to signing an agreement with a group affiliated with the church before the 2021 election, which outlined policies supported by the church.

During a Lower House Budget Committee session, Moriyama initially denied receiving support from the church-affiliated organization. However, opposition lawmakers pressed him on the issue, leading Kishida to reiterate that Moriyama's appointment was based on the assumption that he had no current ties to the religious group.

Kishida has emphasized that Moriyama is the one who requested a court order to dissolve the Unification Church due to its shady financial dealings. He believes this action demonstrates Moriyama's lack of current ties to the group.

However, critics argue that if Moriyama is replaced due to his past connections, it could undermine the legitimacy of the dissolution order request. Additionally, the issue could backfire on Kishida himself, who reportedly met with a representative of the church's friendship organization in 2019.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is growing increasingly concerned about the controversy. LDP lawmakers have expressed concerns about Moriyama's involvement with the church, while opposition parties are directly targeting Kishida over his appointment. The Social Democratic Party has argued that it is contradictory for Moriyama to have signed a policy agreement with the church while also filing the dissolution order request.