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One Year Since Abe Assassination

Abe assassination

Abe assassination used politically by leftwing activist lawyers

It is now one year since the Abe assassination, when former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was brutally murdered at an election rally 8th July 2022.

Shinzo Abe March 2022. Photo: English: United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image. Cropped

It was shocking indeed to the peace-loving Japanese how Abe became a victim to terror. But what may be just as shocking to many observers, is the way the Family Federation of Japan and its members became another victim.

Following the terror attack carried out by Tetsuya Yamagami, a giant wave of persecution, largely orchestrated by leftwing activist lawyers – National Network of Lawyers against Spiritual Sales – hit the followers of the Family Federation.

They received death threats. Many were mobbed at their work place or school. Buildings belonging to the Family Federation, were sprayed with hate speech graffiti. Members felt that just like Christians were blamed by Emperor Nero for the burning of Rome in the year 64 AD, the Family Federation was blamed for the terror killing Abe.

Dr. Massimo Introvigne is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. He writes,

Dr. Massimo Introvigne
Dr. Massimo Introvigne. Photo: FOREF

“Clearly, Abe and the Unification Church [former name of Family Federation] were the victims in a crime whose perpetrator hated the movement founded by the late Reverend Moon, and had interacted on social media with its anti-cult opponents. However, in an extraordinary reversal of both truth and fairness, the Unification Church was presented as somewhat responsible for the crime.

A twisted argument was used, that if the assassin’s mother had not donated huge sums to the Unification Church, her son would not have had a grudge against Abe and would not have killed him. A national campaign followed, where the assassin was almost forgotten and media and governmental campaigns targeted the Unification Church, culminating in an official investigation that may result in a legal action by the government aimed at legally dissolving the religious organization.

After the Abe assassination, these campaigns started almost overnight. It did not take a conspiracy theorist to suspect they had been prepared long before, waiting for the right opportunity to launch them.” (The Anti-Unification Church Campaign in Japan: The Shadow of the Communist Party, article by Dr. Massimo Introvigne, founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), published by Bitter Winter 13th Dec. 2022)

Masumi Fukuda, award-winning Japanese investigative journalist, writes,

Masumi Fukuda
Masumi Fukuda. Photo: FOREF

“The Network would not hesitate to use all means to destroy the former Unification Church. They are willing to tell all sort of stories, including lies, to achieve what they believe is a righteous purpose. They often throw the words “anti-social” and “cult” at the former Unification Church, but considering their involvement in the abduction and confinement of believers, one may wonder whether they are not more deserving of these labels themselves.” (‘Sayuri Ogawa’: When ‘Apostates’ Slander the Unification Church. 5. Why the Story Is Not Believable, Bitter Winter 6th March 2023)

The terrorist is made into victim; Abe and the Family Federation are the guilty ones. The truth has been twisted beyond recognition.

Columnist Gearoid Reidy of The Japan Times writes on the Abe assassination in an article 16th April 2023 that this kind of reporting – justifying terror and portraying a terrorist positively in the media – is extremely dangerous. It might well cause more terror. (Don’t Allow the Attack on Kishida to Become a Trend)

The Japan Times, the country’s largest English-language newspaper, writes in the same article,

“Instead of recognizing this [the terrorist’s alleged grievances against the Unification Church] as bitter delusion and focusing on the concerning security lapses surrounding Abe’s killing, media reports instead gave Yamagami bizarrely sympathetic coverage and even took up his cause against the church. For months, Japan’s front pages and TV shows were dominated by links between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church.”

After the terror attack on the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg, Germany 9th March this year, above-mentioned Introvigne called for an examination of hate-mongering “cult experts” who are often quoted and featured in large media outlets. He claims that such “experts”, including the network of Japanese activist lawyers, play a significant role in firing up certain persons with anti-religious views to commit dreadful acts.

The scholar states,

“I would, however, suggest also investigating those who, by publicly slandering the Jehovah’s Witnesses and depicting them as an evil to be eradicated at all costs, might have slowly pushed the assassin’s fingers to pull the trigger.” (Article published in Bitter Winter a magazine for religious freedom and human rights, 18th March 2023).

It is a well-known, but less well-published fact that many so-called “cult experts” make big earnings by painting certain faiths black. Making religious movements into as big a problem as possible, is clearly something the “experts” profit from. Facts are easily twisted by such “experts” to fit into their tale.

Introvigne points out that “cult experts” had demonstrably been in touch with terrorist Tetsuya Yamagami before he assassinated Abe. The experts did not openly suggest to Yamagami to shoot Abe, but certainly did their best to stimulate and foment the young man’s hatred of the Unification Church and its allies.

Jan Leonid Bernstein, investigative reporter, writes,

“We should never minimize the influence of hate speech on people. And definitely, we should not apply double standard based on which religious affiliation are the killer and the victim. Terrorism is terrorism. Abe’s murder has a terrorist component and the hate speech directed for years at the Unification Church by some anti-cult groups may certainly be somewhat responsible for what happened, whatever personal grievance the killer would have had.” (Shinzo Abe’s assassination to be called terrorist, article in The European Times 16th July 2022)

Dr. Massimo Introvigne explained in a previous article,

The Journal of CESNUR Nov-Dec 2022

“While the weak mind of the assassin had clearly been excited by anti-Unification-Church campaigns by militant lawyers and anti-cultists, the latter succeeded in persuading most media, both in Japan and internationally, that rather than being a victim the Unification Church was somewhat responsible for the homicide, in a spectacular reversal of both logic and fairness.” (The Assassination of Shinzo Abe and the Unification Church, The Journal of CESNUR, volume 6, issue 6, November – December 2022, pages 74—96.)

And you can rely on the so-called “cult experts” to always depict a religion as the guilty party. The actual perpetrator who killed Abe, is portrayed as victim, hardly to be blamed for his terrorism.

One year has passed since the Abe assassination. Now may indeed be a good time to heed Introvigne’s advice. If we take a closer look at the role of leftwing activist lawyers and “experts” hostile to various religions, we may well come much closer to the real story, not the twisted version that has been allowed to dominate the coverage till now.

“One Year Since Abe Assassination” – text: Knut Holdhus

Featured image above: Positional relationship between Shinzo Abe and the shooter at Abe assassination. Photo: Asanagi / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image. Cropped 


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