Unification Church followers in Japan face harassment, threats

Unification Church followers in Japan face harassment, threats

TokYO: Unification Church followers in Japan and their families have been threatened with harassment and death threats since the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, according to the Japanese branch on Wednesday. The man accused of shooting Abe a month ago bore a grudge against a group he believed the politician was linked to, police said after his arrest.

Local media identified the organisation as the South Korea-based Unification Church, saying that the suspect's mother had donated 100 million yen and around US $1 million to the group before declaring bankruptcy.

The suspect's motive was linked to donations made by his mother, as well as excessive media coverage of our organisation, has prompted members to come forward with numerous reports of harm, said Tomihiro Tanaka, head of the church in Japan.

Some followers faced pressure to resign from jobs, or have seen their children unable to attend school because of bullying, he told reporters in Tokyo.

Our churches in Japan have been subject to death threats, receiving threatening phone calls saying we will kill you'', Tanaka said.