Japan's Unification Church victims

Mainichi, Japan/January 19, 2024

By Shu Furukawa

Tokyo -- The first meeting of a ministerial panel to determine support for victims of the former Unification Church was held at the prime minister's office in Japan's capital on Jan. 19.

The panel compiled support measures based on the testimonies of former believers and the children they raised, known as second-generation followers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, who chaired the meeting, stated the government's intent to further enhance support for those who were victimized by the group, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

The measures will include training courses led by ex-believers and second-generation followers aimed at helping consultation service providers understand victims' feelings, job search support for second-generation followers with low income, and services such as school counseling for their children.

The Unification Church came under fire over its extraction of high donations from followers, and in December 2023, a special law was passed, subjecting the organization to heightened scrutiny and preventing the movement of its assets ahead of a possible court order to break up the organization.

The ruling parties had asked for enhanced coordination within the government to support the victims in conjunction with the special law's enforcement.

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