37 consultation requests made by kids regarding Unification Church worries: Japan gov't

Mainichi/February 19, 2024

Tokyo -- Japan's national government on Feb. 16 passed a Cabinet resolution recognizing 37 cases of children seeking guidance over worries related to the controversial religious group Unification Church.

The move was in response to a written question from opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) House of Representatives member Kazunori Yamanoi. The government said that as of the end of January there were 24 cases of children seeking advice from school counsellors, and 13 where they called a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology support line with worries relating to the group, formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

By topic and with multiple selections possible, 24 cases involved the home environment -- the most common concern -- and five consultations from junior high students were about stopping going to school. More than one case with high school counselors involved physical and mental health, academic choices and other points.

In November 2022, the education ministry asked prefectural education boards and others to implement guidance services regarding the Unification Church. This was so that schools would not respond passively to students' problems just because they were religious in nature.

In reply to Yamanoi, the national government stated, "We believe we've established a thorough system of support to deal closely and individually with students who are troubled on a variety of issues."

(Japanese original by Nao Ikeda, Political News Department)

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