Photo/Illutration A building housing the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, more commonly known as the Unification Church, in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward (The Asahi Shimbun)

While many politicians have suddenly come clean about their ties to the controversial Unification Church, some top ruling Liberal Democrat Party members have gone mum on the subject. 

That silence comes as it has been learned that the LDP stalwarts attended related events and apparently received political donations from the church.

Lower House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda was seen saying "congratulations on a successful party" in a video that the church, known formally as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, posted on its website.

Hosoda was addressing the crowd gathered at an event held by the Universal Peace Federation, a friendship organization of the church, in October 2019.

In the speech, Hosoda touched on some of the contemporary global situations and challenges, such as terrorism and trade friction.

He then called for an improvement in the Japan-South Korea relationship.

“I will waste no time in reporting the success of this event as well as its contents to Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe,” Hosoda added.

Based on the video, The Asahi Shimbun asked Hosoda what prompted him to attend the event and the type of relationship he has with the church.

To which, a representative of Hosoda’s office said, “We decline to comment.”

The representative did not provide a clear answer to the question if Hosoda indeed attended the gathering.

In the same video, Tsuneo Kitamura, an Upper House member of the LDP who is elected from Yamaguchi Prefecture, was also seen delivering a speech.

But Kitamura’s office declined to confirm the facts.

A representative said the office was “able to confirm that it obtained the information about the event” but Kitamura “has no ties with” the church.

The video also captured Kiyoshi Ejima, an LDP Upper House member who served as a former vice minister of the Cabinet Office, being introduced to the crowd.

But a representative of Ejima’s office said, “We have nothing to say.”


Other LDP major players have received political donations from The Sekai Nippo, a publisher and friendship organization of the church.

An LDP chapter headed by Shigeru Ishiba, a Lower House member and former secretary-general of the LDP, received a 100,000-yen ($750) donation from the publisher in November 2014.

Another LDP chapter headed by Hakubun Shimomura, a Lower House member who formerly served as the policy chief of the LDP, received a 60,000-yen donation from the publisher in March 2016.

Sekai Nippo admitted to The Asahi Shimbun that it made both donations.

But Ishiba’s office declined to comment on the matter.

“(Ishiba) has dealings with many individuals, companies and various groups on a regular basis, and we decline to comment on individual matters,” it said.

Shimomura’s office said, “We have handled and reported (the matter) properly and in accordance with the law,” but disclosed nothing further on his ties with the church.

Tomohiro Yamamoto, an LDP Lower House member who served as a vice defense minister, posted a comment on Twitter in October 2015 in which he said a man, his senior at university and head of the Federation for World Peace, a friendship organization of the Unification Church, “visited me and made several requests.”

Yamamoto also said on Twitter that he attended a meeting of the friendship organization in December 2012 and March 2013.

Yamamoto’s office declined to respond to questions from The Asahi Shimbun.