Religious researchers issue statement on ex-Unification Church

A group of religious researchers in Japan has called on authorities to exercise their right to ask questions to conduct a prompt investigation into the religious group formerly known as the Unification Church.

Twenty-five researchers, including Professor Emeritus Shimazono Susumu of the University of Tokyo and Professor Sakurai Yoshihide of Hokkaido University, issued a statement.

At a news conference on Friday, Shimazono said the government has a difficult task and the group is presenting their views as investigators.

The research group said asking for huge donations that force followers and others into bankruptcy is against the common good.

They urged authorities to investigate quickly by exercising their right to ask questions. They also called for a fair investigation by a panel of experts.

In addition, they sought financial aid for victims who have suffered from allegedly shady marketing practices and the collection of large donations. They also called for support for the children of the followers of the Church.

Shimazono said the ex-Unification Church’s practices differ from those of religious institutions and could be called unreasonable.

As for legal proceedings for a rescission order, he said authorities should move forward after fully taking into account accuracy, discretion, fairness and transparency.

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