The assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, by the unemployed son of a mother and member of a sect who left her fortune to the Unification Church, ruining her son, is making waves in Japan. At first it was noticeable that one only spoke of a „religious group“, at best still of the Unification Church, but not explicitly of the Moon sect. This South Korean, anti-communist, right-wing and clerical-fascist sect was part of the Anti-Communist World League in Taipei during the Cold War and had excellent connections to the USA, Asian and Latin American dictatorships. In Japan, however, the debate is now expanding to other religious groups and their ties to the conservative LDP and other parties and politicians. Apparently, the separation of state and religion is not seen as being so well preserved, which is why there are now waves of cleansing against politicians associated with religious groups:
„The Power of Sects in Japan After the attack on Shinzo Abe, his successor fired members of the government with ties to religious groups.
Tokyo – When Fumio Kishida read the names of his new cabinet, it was clear that Tokyo had been nervous for weeks. Amid falling approval ratings, the Japanese prime minister not only filled several leadership positions in his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Wednesday, but also most of the ministers in his government. In the 19-strong cabinet, there are only five people who were able to keep their posts. Cabinet reshuffles are not entirely unusual in the East Asian country, as this is intended to bring a breath of fresh air to the political leadership floor. But the vehemence of the personnel realignment is causing a stir these days. The daily Nikkei spoke on Wednesday of a measure that „intends to eliminate people who have admitted contact with the Unification Church.“ The leading news agency Kyodo also interprets that in this way „connections to dubious religious companies are to be cut off.“ After the assassination of Shinzo Abe, Japan is going through a political crisis Japan has been going through a political crisis for a good month. On July 8, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead at a campaign rally in the street. The assassin of the hitherto highly influential politician had established a connection between Abe and a sect whose common name translates to German as the Unification Church. This organization, in turn, had financially ruined the murderer’s mother by asking for large donations. Since the case became known, Japan has been discussing the influence of sometimes dubious organizations on politics and society. Several politicians in the Japanese government soon confessed to having ties to the Unification Church. This was founded in South Korea in the post-war period and was soon well received in conservative circles in Japan because they shared a dislike of communism and left-wing tendencies. The Unification Church, which played on people’s fears and demanded donations from its members for salvation, has had repeated problems with the judiciary over the past several decades. Nevertheless, she became an important pillar of the LDP party, which was politically overwhelming in Japan. For example, several politicians have benefited from the church by receiving donations or by being provided with numerous volunteers during the election campaign. In addition to the LDP, this also affects politicians from other parties.
The influence of dubious organizations in Japan has been known for some time Levi McLaughlin, a professor of religious studies at North Carolina State University in the US and an expert on neo-religious movements in Japan, told Japanese media after Shinzo Abe’s assassination that the Unification Church’s contact with elected politicians should come as no surprise. This is „one of many, many groups with which they have been in contact.“ In general, the influence of sometimes dubious religious organizations on politics and society is actually nothing new in the country. The majority of Japanese society is hardly religious, which is confirmed again and again in surveys. However, religious organizations have increasingly managed to exert social and political influence in the country through sometimes horrendous donations from loyal members and clever strategies. In addition to the Unification Church, which has now fallen into disrepute, the syncretistic „Seicho-no-ie“ (in German: House of Growth), founded in the 1930s, is one of the better-known movements and is considered an institution with a good network among nationalists. Another large and influential institution is Tenrikyo, which represents a new version of the original Shinto religion. The modern sect runs a university and radio stations and expects missionary activity from its members. Komeito party in Japan advocates “Buddhist democracy”.
In addition, the mixed religion „Koufuku no kagaku“, in German: science of happiness, founded in the 80s, is one of the better-known institutions with millions of members. With the Koufukujitsugentou, she also founded a party that calls for the remilitarization of Japan, for example. „Koufuku no kagaku“ also stands out for its pop culture activity in anime and manga. In several works, the sect has spread its religious ideas beyond its members. The most prominent example of religious influence on politics in Japan is the Buddhist organization „Soka Gakkai“, which founded the Komeito party in the 1960s, which advocates „Buddhist democracy“ and is now a junior partner in the governing coalition. Various support and votes are fed primarily from a pool of several million members who regularly make donations. Soka Gakkai is referred to as a sect by many. Soka Gakkai is not known for illegal activities on the scale of the Unification Church.
Despite its pacifism, which is quite compatible in Japan, the organization’s reputation is hardly positive, as confirmed by Hans Martin Krämer, professor of Japanese Studies and religion expert at the University of Heidelberg. In Japan, many people describe the organization as authoritarian and domineering over its members. There is also the question of whether the constitution is being broken in the form of the party Komeito, which is affiliated with it. It prescribes the separation of church and state. The much-criticized influence of religious groups in the larger governing party, the LDP, will hardly diminish with the cabinet reshuffle. Newspaper „Asahi Shimbun“ in Japan: The crisis is not over According to research by the left-liberal daily Asahi Shimbun, Prime Minister Kishida has reduced the number of ministers who have ties to the Unification Church from eight to three. Accordingly, Katsunobu Kato, who will continue to serve as health minister, has donated 30,000 yen to the Unification Church in the past decade (about 217 euros). The new Interior Minister Minoru Terada accordingly donated a sum of 20,000 yen in 2018. Daishiro Yamagiwa, who may remain Minister for Economic Revitalization, made a similar payment in 2013. „Asahi Shimbun“ predicts, therefore, that the crisis will not end even with the cabinet reshuffle: „You will probably be asked to explain these connections amidst the great public interest.“
The Moon sect has a long dynastic tradition, which early on advocated an „independent, free, united Korea under God as a family for the world community under God and world peace“ and, like the Chinese Falun Gong, is also a missionary in other countries and roughly corresponds to what is known in the USA as the religious right and evangelicals, political-religious fundamentalism, which also finds broad support, especially from the US free churches. Also strictly anti-feminist like the current president of South Korea, whereby the Moonies propagate mass weddings and families under God , for Korea, but also worldwide.
“The Moon family has pursued Korean Unification for 3 generations. Hyun Jin Preston Moon’s great-uncle was a prominent member of the Korean anti-colonial movement, and helped draft the Korean Declaration of Independence. His father, Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church was at the forefront of engagement with North Korea starting in 1991.”
About the son, who now leads the Moonies, you can read:
“Hyun Jin Preston Moon (born 25 May 1969) is a South Korean social entreprenuer, founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, and later the Family Peace Association. His father, Sun Myung Moon, was the founder of the Unification movement, an international Christian new religious movement.
|Hyun Jin Preston Moon|
|Born||25 May 1969 (age 53) Seoul, South Korea|
|Education||Harvard Business School|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Occupation||Chairman of the Global Peace Foundation and Co-Founder of Family Peace Association|
|Parents||Sun Myung Moon (father) Hak Ja Han (mother)|
Early life & Education
Born in South Korea, he moved to the United States at a young age and graduated from Columbia University, where he was a history major, and Harvard Business School with an M.B.A. in 1998. Moon is a humanitarian and social entrepreneur whose peacebuilding initiatives emphasize universal principles and values shared by the world’s major religious and cultural traditions.
Moon has been involved in the campaign for Korean unification for a decade. In 2014, Moon wrote the book Korean Dream: A Vision for a Unified Korea. The book calls for greater public engagement with the unification issue, especially led by S. Korean civil society organizations working in partnership with government. He urged the S. Korean government to make unification its national agenda to lead global opinion, especially with heightened interest surrounding North’s increased nuclear threats.
Moon’s approach to unification appeals to a shared historic, 5,000-year Korean identity, and particularly the ancient Korean ethic named „Hongik Ingan,“ which means „to broadly benefit humanity.“ He states that with Hongik Ingan as the guiding vision, „Unification will set the moral precedent for aligning with our historic heritage and providential destiny… to shine the light of hope opening the path for all people in a world mired in conflict.“
Moon described his book as shifting the focus from technical questions of process to clarifying the end goal of unification. „I ask what type of new nation should Koreans aspire to establish, and what shared vision and enduring principles should guide them towards it,“ Moon wrote.
The Korean Culture and Arts Publications recognized Korean Dream: A Vision for a Unified Korea as the 2014 „Book of the Year“ in the society category. An English version with a foreword by The Heritage Foundation founder Edwin Feulner was published in December 2016. The book was included in the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s 2018 Professional Reading List under the „Global Analysis“ category.
Moon founded Action for Korea United, an alliance currently consisting of over 800 Korean civic groups, in 2012. In 2015 the coalition launched the One Korea Global Campaign committee to garner global support for Korean Unification through the medium of popular culture, especially K-pop. They have held two ‚One K Concerts‘ towards that aim, in Seoul, Korea and Manila, Philippines, featuring well-known artists.
New models of development
Moon has advocated the need for new development models that bring material prosperity without compromising spiritual and moral traditions, including traditional family values. He has advocated the Korean development model Saemaul Undong of the 1970s for encouraging self-reliance and promoting high standards of education to strengthen human capital. He has encouraged Korean industry leaders to invest in development projects in Paraguay, noting the developing nation’s potential to become a hub for industrialization, distribution and service fields in South America.
Moon has pointed out the weaknesses of the South Korean economy since 2014. He presented a plan for economic reform to S. Korean business and government heads in preparation for peninsular unification, and urged South Korean financial institutions and government policy-makers to allow everyday entrepreneurs more access to capital to stimulate the economy and create job opportunities for Koreans of both North and South.
Moon also advocated for economic reform in the Philippines, calling for less government interference in the marketplace, saying the country could play a key role to economically lead ASEAN and promote peace and stability.
Moon is a businessman, holding a Master of Business administration from Harvard University. He is chairman of News World Communications, Inc.
Moon has spoken at various venues and programs encouraging youth leadership as a significant resource to benefit the greater society by challenging conventional norms with fresh perspectives and passion.
Global Peace Foundation
The Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization with a stated mission to promote „an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision that all humanity is ‚One Family under God‘.“ The Foundation’s programs aim to facilitate intercultural and interreligious cooperation, strengthen families and communities, and foster a culture of service and peace.
Moon asserts that peace efforts require effective approaches to preventing and resolving conflicts rooted in universal principles and values and a vision that can guide the formation of free and prosperous civil societies.
Service For Peace
Moon founded Service For Peace in 2001. Service For Peace is an international service and educational non-government organization recognized by the United Nations. Service For Peace involves volunteers in ongoing community development programs throughout the world. Their programs are designed to further the growth and development of individuals and communities through the shared experience of voluntary service.
Moon regularly competed in equestrianism from a young age. He went on to become a two-time competitor at the Olympics as part of the South Korean team, competing in Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Olympics.”
While Putin is now moving closer together with North Korea and China, North Korea is announcing new missile and nuclear tests, the newly elected South Korean President Yong is now promoting a policy of strength towards Beijing, Pyongyang and Moscow, close cooperation with the USA and Japan, the One Korea Forum held under the auspices of the Moon sect was held in South Korea, believing in a color revolution in North Korea, including using information warfare and K-pop, and rallying supporters for Korean reunification, which was followed by many US and South Korean politicians, military officials, managers, academics and cultural figures.
“Thinking the unthinkable on North Korea
‚Change is bound to come. We just don’t know when, or in what form it will happen,‘ says expert
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The unification of the two Koreas seems to be one of the least likely things to happen any time soon, particularly now when inter-Korean relations have become more confrontational and volatile than ever before. There have been few signs of improvement in South-North relations since conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol was inaugurated on May 10.
Unlike his predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who sought peace and sustainable inter-Korean relations and tried to curry favor with the North when the reclusive nation relied on a brinkmanship diplomacy, Yoon is a hardliner showing no appetite for conciliatory gestures. Analysts say that North Korea could be preparing for another nuclear test, following the test-firing of missiles with advanced technology despite international condemnation. This situation is yet more evidence showing the current state of inter-Korean relations.
Amid the prevailing pessimistic views about North Korea, among Korea observers, some have begun to think the unthinkable: the prospect of a unified, peaceful Korea. Their optimism ― if not confidence ― about a shared future for the two Koreas is based on the rational belief that there are several different ways to achieve unification. One of them is the mutual agreement of the two Koreas on such unification.
On top of dialogue and talks, retired Col. David Maxwell said there are three other paths to unification ― namely war, regime change and regime collapse ― stressing that peaceful unification is the most complex and difficult path to unify the two Koreas and „possibly the least likely one to occur because Kim Jong-un is unlikely to ever go quietly into the night.“
„But it is the morally right path because we must seek to do it as peacefully as possible,“ Maxwell said during a speech to the International Forum on One Korea 2022 held at the Fairmont Ambassador Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 13 and 14. „However, even if war or regime collapse occurs, all the work done for peaceful planning will still have applicability in the unification process. Regardless of the path taken, planning for peaceful unification planning will provide the foundation for a free and unified Korea.“
Maxwell is one of the dozens of experts who gathered in Seoul during the weekend to figure out ways to „make the impossible possible,“ as he put it. Also joining the two-day international forum were lawmakers, think tank experts, human rights activists and academics.
Also a senior fellow of the Washington D.C-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Maxwell called for the active role of civil society, together with the governments of South Korea and the U.S., to make peace on the Korean Peninsula happen.
„I recommend the formation of civil society task forces that are willing to support the goal of a free and unified Korea,“ he said. „There is much work that can be done in long-term preparation for the future: humanitarian assistance, education, economic engagement, infrastructure development, political process integration and communications, just to name a few areas for consideration.“
Maxwell argued that unification costs could become manageable if civil society around the world is willing to step up and show their support for the Korean people.
During the two-day event, professionals in three areas of specialization ― peace and security, the economy and human rights ― shared their thoughts and insights into the reclusive state in order to find a constructive way to build peace in East Asia.
Park Ji-hyun, a North Korean defector-turned-human rights activist based in the United Kingdom, addressed human trafficking and modern-day slavery as two of the most acute problems in the North and called for international action to stop them.
In North Korea, she said, „the state is driving its citizens into human trafficking and forced labor,“ adding that „types of forced labor include forced child labor, illegal recruitment and the deployment of child soldiers.“
Park, human rights research manager at the U.K.-based non-profit group, Slavefreetrade, mentioned the prevalence of state-sponsored sex crimes in the North, saying, „The North Korean government welcomes women over the age of 17 with joy by raping them, forcing them to dance and sing in front of them, and commits sexual violence against women without hesitation.“
Among others, she underscored information as one of the most important tools that could transform North Korea’s younger generations into agents of change to stand up against the repressive Kim Jong-un regime.
„Younger generations who have escaped North Korea have focused much more on defending themselves for (the goal of) freedom than (escaping from) economic hardship,“ she said. „For those who have hope of freedom and to live their dreams, they say that the collapse of North Korea should be focused and changed through internal forces rather than external forces.“
For decades, information has been touted as one of the most effective ways to change the North. Many are convinced that the infiltration of outside information could help the North Korean public realize that they have been deceived and brainwashed by the North Korean authorities and encourage them to launch a grassroots movement to stand up against the dictatorship. This kind of thinking has emboldened some activists, and they have sent leaflets to educate North Koreans about the Kim dynasty, their decades of dictatorship and human rights abuses, despite death threats from the North Korean regime.
Although information can be effective, some claim that its role has been overstated. These skeptics say that knowing is one thing and performing collective action to break the miserable status quo is another. In a country like North Korea, in which its leader makes use of the politics of fear and brutally cracks down on any kind of anti-government activities, the naysayers say organizing anti-government rallies or protests is something unthinkable.
Hyun Jin Preston Moon, founder and chairman of the U.S.-based group, Global Peace Foundation, however, believes in the potential of information, noting that North Koreans today are not the same as those of the past.
The origin of his confidence about North Korea having changed is the younger generations, particularly those who are called „the Jangmadang generation,“ people who were raised when informal markets began to thrive in North Korea, following the great famine in the mid-1990s.
„People in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea no longer live in a cocoon with no information from the world outside. The current generation of North Koreans has experienced the freedom of enterprise and choice ― however restricted ― offered by the jangmadang informal markets,“ he said during a keynote speech to the forum. „They watch TV dramas from China and South Korea and do not accept the propaganda, however harsh their lives might be“ „The regime fears the confluence of a more informed, less unconditionally loyal population, with greater hardships,“ he said.
When loyalty is replaced by fear and the general population suffers increasing hardships, he said, the situation becomes unsustainable. „Change is bound to come. We just don’t know when, or in what form it will happen.“
The annual One Korea Forum hosted by Global Peace Foundation wrapped up on Sunday.
On You Tube, Hyun Jin Preston Moon once again explains the purpose of the conference and the US-ROK Alliance for a Unifired Korea, in which many US and South Korean congressmen also take part:
I find it interesting how the reunifiers see South Korea’s culture and entertainment industry and especially K-Pop as a weapon. In North Korea there is a risk of being shot if you listen to K-Pop and you can only have 10 government-mandated haircuts. Apparently they are hoping for a similar effect on North Korea’s youth as Western rock and roll, American lifestyle and jeans which was influencing the GDR and East bloc youth back then. American lifestyle .
Or as Hyun Jin Preston Moon puts it: „The origin of his confidence about North Korea having changed is the younger generations, particularly those who are called „the Jangmadang generation,“ people who were raised when informal markets began to thrive in North Korea, following the great famine in the mid-1990s . „People in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea no longer live in a cocoon with no information from the world outside. The current generation of North Koreans has experienced the freedom of enterprise and choice ― however restricted ― offered by the jangmadang informal markets,“ he said during a keynote speech to the forum. „They watch TV dramas from China and South Korea and do not accept the propaganda, however harsh their lives might be“ „The regime fears the confluence of a more informed, less unconditionally loyal population, with greater hardships,“ he said. When loyalty is replaced by fear and the general population suffers increasing hardships, he said, the situation becomes unsustainable. „Change is bound to come. We just don’t know when, or in what form it will happen.“
Well, one can also read about the course of change: “Retired Col. David Maxwell said there are three other paths to unification ― namely war, regime change and regime collapse.”
Not necessarily a guarantee that things would go as peacefully as in 1989 in Eastern Europe, especially since relations between the USA and China, as guarantor powers, are also becoming ever more tense. Are the South Koreans that interested in reunification with North Korea?
China expert Prof. van Ess also said: „I always remember that the South Koreans told me admiringly that they had studied German reunification very carefully. They couldn’t have afforded that because 40 million taking on 20 million is different than 60 million taking on 15 million. And of course someone has to have the political will to do so and no major powers are allowed to interfere.”
When I was in Bangkok in 1991, I was constantly approached by South Koreans who wanted to talk to me about German reunification. Yes, I can remember that there was considerable skepticism about the cost in the Middle Ages. The older ones who fought in the Korean War thought differently. But it’s now 2022 and the Korean War veterans have almost all died and the current South Korean youth and now aging middle ages are probably more interested in their retirement, K-Pop and Squid Games than reunification. At least that doesn’t bother the US-ROK-Alliance and the Moonies and their reunification enthusiasts.
The question remains whether a peaceful reunification is wishful thinking or as improbable and unthinkable as German reunification. Also whether Xi would then be a kind of Gorbi and Juche Glasnost. At least a Marshall plan for a reunified Korea is already being demanded and a radical capitalist economic program is being drafted. Similar to how the economic forum in Ukraine propagated its reconstruction, which should make Ukraine allegedly the freest, economically strongest country and model for Europe, like Moon promises a reunited, independent Korea as a model for world peace and the human world community in a very immodest and missionary way , while emphasizing Korean tradition, history and identity, representing the universal values of the human family – the Korean Dream under God. One nation under God, one world family under God. God bless you!a