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Abe Killing Puts Pressure on Lawmakers’ Unification Church Ties

  • Suspect cited grudge against group and its links to ex-PM
  • Opposition parties begin looking into ties with lawmakers
A photograph of Shinzo Abe at a makeshift memorial outside the LDP headquarters in Tokyo.
A photograph of Shinzo Abe at a makeshift memorial outside the LDP headquarters in Tokyo.Photographer: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg

The assassination of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has thrown a spotlight on the little-known relationship between the country’s ruling party and the Unification Church. 

The South Korea-based church is best known for its mass weddings and its followers are nicknamed “Moonies” after its founder and self-proclaimed messiah Reverend Sun Myung Moon. The man arrested for shooting Abe with a homemade gun has been quoted by local media as saying he was motivated by a perceived connection between Abe and the Unification Church, which he blamed for his family’s financial ruin.