Photo/Illutration The building in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward housing the offices of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Eishi Kado)

About 40 percent of newly appointed senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries and another Cabinet member acknowledged having ties to the Unification Church or its related organizations, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.

Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi on Aug. 15 said he was interviewed by an organization linked with the Unification Church, which is now formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

The interview appeared in a 2008 monthly magazine published by the organization.

Hanashi is the seventh member of the reshuffled Kishida Cabinet to confirm ties with the Unification Church.

The church was also connected to lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party now serving in high administrative positions.

The LDP faction once led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had the most members named as senior vice ministers or parliamentary secretaries at 13. Five had some link with the Unification Church.

Abe was gunned down on July 8 while giving a campaign speech in Nara. The suspect told police the Unification Church financially ruined his family by collecting huge donations from his mother.

He said he targeted Abe over his connections to the Unification Church, investigative sources said.

The party faction led by LDP Vice President Taro Aso had seven newly named senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Six had links to the Unification Church.

Five of the seven new officials from the faction led by LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi had some sort of relation to the church.

In contrast, the LDP faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had only one of its eight new senior vice ministers or parliamentary secretaries admitting to ties to the church.

Of all those who acknowledged some form of tie, 15 said they attended an event sponsored by the Unification Church or affiliated organization.

Nine said they sent congratulatory messages to meetings held by the church or related organizations.

Five said they received help from the religious group during election campaigns.

Yoshiaki Wada, a senior vice minister in the Cabinet Office, said he was given a membership roster from the church before the Lower House election in October 2021.

Church members attended campaign speeches given by Atsushi Nonaka, a senior vice minister in the agriculture ministry, in the same election.

Four lawmakers admitted to either receiving donations from those linked with the church or making a payment at an event sponsored by an affiliated organization.

Others said they were unable to confirm if they had any ties because of the difficulty in determining what constituted an organization with links to the Unification Church.