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Assassination Exploited by Left to Attack Faith

Shinzo Abe 2022 assassination exploited

Abe assassination exploited: perfect opportunity for the left to attack minority faith

Toshikazu Masubuchi on red hatred for movement
Toshikazu Masubuchi. Photo: Bitter Winter

Bitter Winter, the online magazine for human rights and religious freedom, published as a series of three articles a report titled “The Unification Church Case in Japan: A Politician Speaks Up.” It was written by a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Toshikazu Masubuchi, who served as speaker of Tochigi Prefectural Assembly 1991-2011.

Bitter Winter exposing forcible detention28th February 2024, Bitter Winter published the 2nd of its 3 articles. It was headlined “Spies and Fake News”. There, Masubuchi reveals that the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was exploited by the political left as the perfect opportunity to launch an all-out attack on the Family Federation and other organisations founded by Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han.

On part 1 in the Bitter Winter series, part 2a, part 3a, part 3b

Since 1975, Masubuchi has maintained ties with IFVOC and, starting from 2010, he has also been involved with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), previously known as the Unification Church. One notable observation from his interactions with the Family Federation members is their profound earnestness and self-sacrifice for the betterment of society and the world. He says,

“It is evident that they are fundamentally different from left-wing activists who believe in fiction and lead people to unhappiness.”

Marble vase
Marble vase, similar to some of those that members sold in Japan. Photo: Knut Holdhus.

Masubuchi points out that leftwing lawyers frequently raise objections about the so-called “spiritual sales” issue when criticizing the Unification Church. However, understanding the concepts of “faith” and “religious spirit” is crucial in grasping this matter. Masubuchi himself purchased a marble vase and a seal with the intention of supporting the church. He emphasizes that there should be no issue if both parties are satisfied with such transactions, whether for spiritual artifacts or to support a religious organization, even if significant sums are involved. Any subsequent dissatisfaction shouldn’t be construed as “suffering”, but rather as a change of perspective. Masubuchi explains,

“Left-wing lawyers seize the opportunity to criticize FFWPU and IFVOC, emphasizing the ‘suffering’ of those who bought the artifacts, but shifting from the essence of the matter is their usual tactic. Knowing the actual situation, I have assisted in settling some such disputes.”

The sarin gas incident in the city of Matsumoto in Nagano in 1994, followed 9 months later by the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, exposed these as crimes planned and carried out by the 1987-founded religious group Aum Shinrikyo and its head, Shoko Asahara. Subsequently, new religious movements in Japan, including the Unification Church, faced accusations of being “cults”, leading followers to eventually cease the sale of items like vases and pagodas.

The LDP politician mentions that the Family Federation also draws criticism for large donations, but this practice is common in Christianity. The amount contributed reflects an individual’s level of faith and isn’t a matter for external judgment. Donations sustain the activities of religious organizations, without which their functions would be impossible. Denying religious organisations the right to seek donations echoes the arguments of communists who dismiss all religions as opium for the people.

Masubuchi comments on certain accusations against two movements coming from South Korea,

“There are individuals who criticize FFWPU and IFVOC as ‘anti-Japanese’. However, such criticism is usually from left-wing individuals who are ‘anti-Japanese’ themselves. The intention is likely to create divisions among conservatives. Considering the efforts made by IFVOC to preserve Japanese traditions, it should be unthinkable to easily criticize them as ‘anti-Japanese.’”

Toshikazu Masubuchi recalls well 8th July 2022, the day Shinzo Abe was assassinated,

“The realization that a former prime minister could be a target of an ‘assassination’ and the awareness of Abe’s significant political influence struck me simultaneously. A few days later, the ‘confession’ of the shooting suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, was leaked to the media, and it was reported that Yamagami’s crime was motivated by ‘resentment towards the former Unification Church’.

An Jung-geun
Terrorist in Japan, hero for Koreans: An Jung-geun (안중근), Korean independence activist who assassinated the Japanese prime minster in Harbin, China in 1909. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image.

Having previously read materials concerning events such as the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and of Japanese Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito in 1909 by Korean activist An Jung-geun [안중근 – 1879-1910, Korean independence activist], I was aware that political motives were always intertwined with how assassination incidents were reported.”

Consequently, Masubuchi says he harbored suspicions about the authenticity of the confession, especially considering subsequent contradictions in the reporting. Despite these doubts, media outlets, particularly those with left-leaning bias, repeatedly framed the incident solely as an act of resentment towards the Family Federation, exploiting it to tarnish the organizations’ reputations.

This biased narrative, coupled with the questionable handling of the suspect’s confession, calls for a cautious approach to media reporting.

Masubuchi explains,

“However, the media, despite the suspect’s confession being the only information available, repeatedly reported a one-sided narrative as if there were no motive other than ‘resentment towards FFWPU. For the left-leaning media that already harbored strong antipathy towards FFWPU and IFVOC, this presented a perfect opportunity to attack these organizations, stirring public opinion significantly. However, the posture of some authorities leaking such confessions, and treating them as if they were unquestionable facts, raises doubts. Furthermore, in this reporting, not only left-leaning media outlets but even Yomiuri Television followed the same direction.”

The former Tochigi politician says that former Prime Minister Abe’s lifelong resistance against media misinformation further highlights the need for skepticism towards such narratives.

However, as long as the truth behind the shooting remains uncertain, the government’s push for the dissolution of the Family Federation appears unjustifiable. Religious freedom is a cornerstone of democracy, safeguarding individual beliefs and thoughts. Media reporting that undermines such principles warrants scrutiny.

Continued in part 3a, Kishida Swayed by Communist Dictatorial Policy.

On part 1 in the Bitter Winter series, part 2a, part 3a, part 3b

Featured image above: Just months before assassination: Shinzo Abe in March 2022. Photo: English: United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image. Cropped

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