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Donation and Evangelism Allegations Debunked

Tomihiro Tanaka

Kishida administration’s allegations debunked on first day of court hearings

MEXT's allegations debunked
The logo of MEXT. Photo: 文部科学省 (MEXT Japan) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 4.0 Int

Part 1 of the English version of statement by President Tomihiro Tanaka, President of the Family Federation (FFWPU) of Japan, at the Tokyo District Court on 22nd February 2024. Published with permission.

See part 2, part 3

In response to MEXT’s [Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology] recent request for a dissolution order, we have already addressed the legal issues in writing. Therefore, I would like to express my opinion from the perspective of a religious person.

To begin with, MEXT’s claim that our church is not a religious group but rather an entity with a fundraising purpose is clearly erroneous.

The founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, established the former Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, now known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, with the aim of the salvation of all humanity. The Japanese church was founded in 1959 and obtained religious corporation status in 1964. It was established as a part of the providence of world salvation by the founder couple, and its purpose is strictly religious.

Donation allegations debunked. Here: Japanese banknotes
Receiving donations is integral part of religious activities. Here: Japanese banknotes. Photo: Tokyoship / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image

Donations from our followers support domestic evangelism, international missionary activities, and the church‘s maintenance and development. Receiving donations is also an integral part of religious activities. The organization is by no means formed with the sole purpose of fundraising.

The acceptance of donations is a right recognized for religious corporations, and the claim that receiving donations implies non-religious purposes goes against international law established by the “Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief”, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, which stipulates the “freedom to solicit and receive contributions.”

While acknowledging that our church utilizes donations for religious activities, MEXT [Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology] erroneously concludes that FFWPU‘s involvement in evangelism while keeping the church name undisclosed was solely for fundraising purposes. However, our church has consistently conducted evangelism openly, without concealing its identity.

Court ruling
Photo: Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash. Cropped

The Nagoya District Court judgment of April 22, 2014, found the fact that in 1972, our church openly engaged in evangelism as a form of religious solicitation and rejected the claims of the plaintiff in that case. The case in the Tokyo District Court judgment dated February 28, 2020, involved two plaintiffs who sued for activities of FFWPU after 2013, but when they began to learn the doctrine, they were aware that it was the doctrine of FFWPU.

Engaging in evangelism without explicitly indicating the name of the church was done by a nationwide believers’ organization in the 1980’s and, after its dissolution, by local believers’ groups that continued its evangelism methods. While our church did not interfere with believers’ voluntary activities, in 2009, when we issued a compliance declaration, we instructed that even in activities carried out by believers, the name of our church must be identified when they teach our doctrines. As a result, there have been no activities condemned as “hidden evangelism”. Therefore, the claim that our church engages in “hidden evangelism” and, therefore, has non-religious purposes does not apply to our church.

The Tokyo High Court judgment dated December 26, 2017, submitted by MEXT [Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology] as evidence, admitted that the activities conducted by our church or its followers are religious in nature. It explicitly states that there are no activities being conducted solely for the purpose of asset confiscation or the exploitation of labor. Therefore, there is no dispute regarding the fact that the activities of our church or its followers are conducted for religious purposes.

Continued in part 2, part 3.

Featured image above: Tomihiro Tanaka, President of the Family Federation in Japan. Here at press conference 7th November 2023 in Tokyo. Photo: FFWPU

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