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Tendentious Reporting by New York Times

New York Times tendentious reporting

The New York Times echoing narrative of activist leftwing lawyers in its tendentious reporting

Logo of The New York Times
Public domain image

Just look at the headline used by the New York Times 12th October 2023: Japan Seeks to Dissolve Unification Church After Abe Killing.

This is clearly tendentious reporting. The headline easily gives the impression that the Unification Church caused the terror attack on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 8th July 2022. The Unification Church, now called the Family Federation, was not involved at all in the gruesome murder in broad daylight in the city of Nara.

Several of the claims the New York Times is making, is based on the story told by activist leftwing lawyers out to destroy the Unification Church. Their narrative is riddled with lies and distorted claims.

The New York Times article asserts that the terrorist, Tetsuya Yamagami, “held a grievance against Mr. Abe for his perceived ties to the Unification Church.”

This is at best a half-truth. Yamagami, sometimes describing himself as a revolutionary, may well have had other grievances against Shinzo Abe, who was known as an anti-communist and outspoken critic of Communist China.

Shukan Bunshun logo
The logo of the Shukan Bunshun. Public domain image

Most of the media world seems to have swallowed the activist leftwing lawyers’ account of what happened. But now and then a radically different story emerges, as when Shukan Bunshun, a weekly Japanese news magazine known for its investigative journalism, on 19th August 2023 published some confessions made by the relatives of Tetsuya Yamagami.

According to the narrative of the activist leftwing lawyers, Yamagami could not study at university because of a difficult economic situation created by the mother’s large donations to the Unification Church. According to Shukan Bunshun,

“Tetsuya took entrance exams for various universities, but was only accepted at Nara Sangyo University, which was not the school of his choice, so he chose not to go to university.”

And there were other problems in Yamagami’s family. The father was a heavy drinker, who neglected his family and committed suicide in 1984 jumping off a building.

A logo used by Palladium Magazine
A logo used by the Palladium Magazine.

According to the San Francisco-based Palladium Magazine, the flagship publication of American Governance Foundation and funded by conservative activist Peter Thiel, Yamagami’s father studied at the Faculty of Engineering at the elite Kyoto University. (Article 2nd Feb. 2023 headlined Yamagami Tetsuya’s Revenge)

Cyzo logo
Logo of the Japanese daily web magazine Cyzo.

There, he became acquainted with revolutionary communism. According to an article by editor Masahiko Motoki in the daily web magazine Cyzo 26th July 2022, he was a good friend of Yasuyuki Yasuda, who studied architecture and became a Japanese Red Army militant, shot dead while carrying out a terrorist attack at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv 30th May 1972. Cyzo wrote,

“During his [Yamagami’s father] time at Kyoto University, he was a mahjong [Oriental tile game] friend with Yasuyuki Yasuda, who later died in the Tel Aviv airport shooting.”

(More about the Japanese Red Army terror attack in New York Times 5th June 1972, page 3, article titled Father Asks Death for Terrorist)

Judging by his actions, it certainly seems that Tetsuya Yamagami may well have inherited some of that revolutionary spirit.

Another former Japanese Red Army member Masao Adachi directed and produced rapidly a fictional-biographical film called Revolution+1 about Yamagami, premiered in smaller theatres throughout Japan the day before Shinzo Abe’s state funeral. In the film, Yamagami is described as a terrorist hero. Some theatres cancelled the screening after receiving many complaints about justification of terrorism. Yamagami himself had said before the assassination that he was starting a revolution. And he has been praised openly by many communists after his act of terror.

It has been claimed that Yamagami was not able to single-handedly construct the home-made gun he used to murder Abe. He must have received help. From whom? The obvious answer would be from some like-minded person.

In addition to all this, we know that the Japanese Communist Party is the largest communist party in the democratic world with its close to 300,000 members. For 50 years the party has been fighting systematically to destroy the Unification Church.

Logo Shimbun Akahata
The logo of the Shimbun Akahata. Public domain image
Kazuo Shii in 2017
Kazuo Shii in 2017. Photo: Attribution: 김영준 (Kim Youngjun) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 2.0 Korea. Cropped

In an interview in November 2022 with Kazuo Shii, the Shimbun Akahata, the daily organ and official national newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party, it was made clear that the fierce campaign after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 8th July 2022 is the communists’ “final war” against the Unification Church / Family Federation.

Shii said in the Akahata interview that the war had started already in 1978 at the elections of the governor of Kyoto.

“This time”, he said after the Abe assassination, “we will fight thoroughly and completely until we win the struggle.”

See also The ‘Japanese communists’ final war’ against the Unification Church

By getting Abe killed and the Unification Church blamed for the murder, two birds were killed with just one stone.

To avoid fingers been pointed at the leftwing camp, activists have been working very hard to portray the Unification Church as an antisocial body that does not deserve the right to exist. Even though the members of the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation, preach – and try their best to put it into practice – a moral life harmonious families, stable marriages and peace in the society and the world.

The New York Times in its 12th October article, claims that the Unification Church is manipulating its members inflicting psychological harm on them. This is a standard allegation of the so-called anti-cult movement and has been used consistently and methodically by the network of activist leftwing lawyers in Japan to portray the Unification Church in the worst light possible. It is reminiscent of the old allegations of brainwashing, a term that has been abandoned a long time ago by academics of Religious Studies as unscientific.

Taro Kono
Taro Kono during the Munich Security Conference 2019. Photo: Kuhlmann / MSC / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 3.0 Ger

Regrettably, a political maverick in the current Kishida government, Taro Kono, brought one of the activist leftwing lawyers, fanatically opposed to the Unification Church, into an expert panel appointed to deal with the Unification Church issue. This has clearly led to government ministers adopting some of his anti-religious terminology, as shown in the statement by Minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, Masahito Moriyama, whom The New York Times quotes.

Featured image above: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority, 23rd December 2007. Photo: Haxorjoe / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 3.0 Unp

“Tendentious Reporting by New York Times” – text: Knut Holdhus

More about tendentious reporting: Press Release About Media Attacks

Even more about tendentious reporting: Pure Activism in Japanese Media

And yet more about tendentious reporting: Heavily Biased Japanese Reporting

See also Hate speech disguised as sarcasm


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