Japanese govt to seek court order to dissolve controversial Unification Church

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The Japanese government said on Thursday it will seek a court order to dissolve the Unification Church, which has been under intense scrutiny since the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last year ordered a government probe into the sect after it emerged that Abe’s alleged killer was motivated by resentment against the group.

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The church has been accused of pressuring its followers into making hefty donations and blamed for child neglect among its members.

“We intend to request a dissolution order under the religious corporations law,” Education Minister Masahito Moriyama told a panel of experts on Thursday.

If dissolved, the church would lose its status as a tax-exempt organization but still be allowed to continue its religious practices. The ministry will make a formal decision to ask for the court order after the panel concludes its meeting.

The government plans to file the request to the Tokyo District Court as early as Friday, local media reported.

Abe was gunned down in broad daylight last year while giving a campaign speech in the western Nara region.

The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, is said to have resented the sect over large donations his mother made that bankrupted his family.

Read more: Japan probes Unification Church after backlash over ruling party ties

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