© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO: Daishiro Yamagiwa, Japan’s Minister of Economic Revitalisation, arrives at the Tokyo office of the prime minister on October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
By Kantaro Komiya
TOKYO, Stocksak – Japan’s economic revitalisation minister resigned on Monday amid growing criticism about his inability to explain his ties to a group of church members that critics call a cult. This move will be a blow against Prime Minister Fumio Shima.
Daishiro Yazigiwa, who was the first to resign in Kishida’s government after he took power last January, was the most prominent political casualty from the scandal that erupted following the July killing of Shinzo Abe.
His resignation is a serious blow to a leader whose support has fallen to record lows after revelations about connections between nearly 50% of the lawmakers of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, (LDP), and the Unification Church.
Yamagiwa later said to reporters that he regretted his actions, but he didn’t apologize and insisted that he would continue as a lawmaker because he had not done anything illegal.
“It was pointed that my explanation was delayed. Yamagiwa explained that he caused inconvenience to the government.
He also said that he regrets not attending as many church gatherings as he did and that he would not give the organisation recognition.
Jiji news agency quoted Shunichi Suzuki, Finance Minister, as saying that Yamagiwa’s resignation surprised him. He added that it was important to ensure that no adverse effects are caused by the government economic package due for approval later this week.
The church, which was established in South Korea in 1950s and is well-known for its mass marriages, came under fire after the July 8 assassination by Shinzo Abe.
According to his social media posts, the suspect in Abe’s murder had a grudge about the church. He claimed it had bankrupted his mother. He also blamed Abe for promoting it.
Evidence has emerged that the church and LDP members have been in deep and ongoing relationships since the killing.
Although the LDP acknowledged that some lawmakers had ties to the church, they denied any organisational connection to the party.
Kishida has ordered an investigation into this church last week.
Yamagiwa’s resignation has been demanded by the opposition in recent days. However, he has vowed to continue his duties.
A Jiji news agency poll revealed that Kishida’s approval fell below 30% for the first month. This is a dangerous level below which his government may find it difficult to implement his political agenda.
Critics say that the church forged ties to politicians in Japan to attract followers, gain legitimacy, and that politicians gained access to members of the church for support with campaigns.
Sun Myung Moon was an anti-communist, self-declared messiah and founded The Unification Church in 1954.
Critics have long criticized his ministry as a dangerous and dangerous cult. They also questioned its finances and how they indoctrinate their followers, often called “Moonies”.