Cabinet Secretary Admits to Unification Church Meeting

Cabinet Secretary Admits to Unification Church Meeting

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi admitted on February 7 to having met with individuals connected to the Unification Church in September 2021. The meeting, which took place in his office in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was arranged by members of a local political group. Hayashi stated that he was unsure about the identities of the individuals present or the specific topics discussed. He also denied receiving any political support or donations from the group.

Hayashi's confirmation follows Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's earlier acknowledgement in the Diet that he was aware of the meeting. However, Kishida maintains that his Cabinet has no questionable ties to the Unification Church. He has confirmed with his ministers that there have been no instances of endorsements, donations, or other assistance during elections from the church or its affiliates.

Despite these denials, Education Minister Masahito Moriyama admitted during the same Diet session to signing an agreement with a church-affiliated organization in 2021. This organization is believed to have endorsed Moriyama in the Lower House election that year, in which he secured his seat. Prime Minister Kishida has rejected calls for Moriyama's resignation following this revelation.