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Published: 12:14, August 31, 2022 | Updated: 14:50, August 31, 2022
Kishida apologizes for party's ties with Unification Church
By Reuters
Published:12:14, August 31, 2022 Updated:14:50, August 31, 2022 By Reuters


Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Aug 31, 2022. (SHUJI KAJIYAMA / AP POOL / POOL / AFP)

TOKYO- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday that politicians had a duty to be cautious about their ties with any organization, and apologized for his own party members' reported activities with the controversial Unification Church.

Revelations of long-running links between some lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the church have become a headache for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, denting his approval ratings, and have fanned opposition against a state funeral planned for slain former premier Shinzo Abe

"As head of the party, I offer my sincere apologies," Kishida told a news conference, his first in person as he emerged from COVID-19 quarantine on Wednesday having contracted the virus earlier this month.

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Revelations of long-running links between some lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the church have become a headache for Kishida, denting his approval ratings, and have fanned opposition against a state funeral planned for slain former premier Shinzo Abe.

Abe's suspected assassin bore a grudge against the church, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, alleging it bankrupted his mother, and blamed Abe for promoting it, according to his social media posts and news reports.

ALSO READ: Japan to spend US$1.83m on ex-PM Abe's state funeral

The church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s and known for its mass weddings, has over the years faced questions over how it solicits donations.

The government has said Abe's funeral, to be held on Sept 27 at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan hall, would cost about 250 million yen (US$1.8 million), excluding outlays for security and the reception of overseas dignitaries.


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