Japan’s new cabinet includes at least 20 deputies who are connected to the Unification Church

Twenty-six Japanese lawmakers who were appointed as deputy cabinet members have confirmed Friday that they had connections to a controversial religious organization. Prime Minister Fumio Kimio Kishida asked for a self review and review to calm a hesitant public.

These revelations add to the evidence of what could be an inextricable network of contacts between the Unification Church and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers. Seven ministers from the revamped cabinet also admitted to having ties to the group that has been in the spotlight since the assassination and subsequent relaunch of the Shinzo Abe case.

The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification was founded by a staunch anticommunist. It is well-known for its mass marriages. It has come under fire for its “spiritual sales,” where people are encouraged to buy jars or other items at outrageous prices.

The nature of the ties to the church differs among the 20 of 54 lawmakers elected as senior vice-ministers and parliamentary deputy ministers on Friday. Some had sent congratulatory emails, sold tickets for fundraising parties and participated in events related to the group.

This revelation adds to the woes of Kishida, who reshuffled part of his cabinet Wednesday in an apparent effort to prevent public support from falling further. The premier claimed that neither he or the LDP had organizational links to the church in question.
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