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Related Categories: International | Anti-War
The Abe Cult Murder & The Japanese Cults Behind The Curtain
by repost
The murderer of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe said to police his mother was a member of a cult the she gave large amounts of money to. He said he agreed with the politics of Abe but not what his cult did. This is some of the background of Abe's relationship with these cults. Also the corruption scandal of his wife who was part of this right wing nationalist religious cult.
sm_abe_cult_.jpg
Abe’s Shinto chauvinism Green Shinto
The Cryptic Nationalist Group Steering Japan & Abe Will the Nippon Kaigi group steer Japan into a repetition of World War II-era nationalism?
https://www.thetrumpet.com/14529-the-cryptic-nationalist-group-steering-japan
JANUARY 3, 2014 / JOHN D. / 0 COMMENTS
An article by Michael Cucek in his Shisaku blog highlights the political ends to which Shinto is currently being put by the nationalist administration led by prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Underlying the policy is a desire to reinstate the ideology of pre-war State Shinto, and the recent Yasukuni visits by members of the cabinet are clearly part of an orchestrated step-by-step movement in that direction, as the following makes plain…
Apologists for Yasukuni like to pretend that the prime ministerial visits are religious in nature. How gullible can one be? Naivity can be no excuse for complicity in the agenda of the extreme right, and the recent controversial secrets law, which curtails freedom of expression, indicates how serious is the present situation. There is a point at which one has to stand up and take sides, and that point may well be upon us. For those of us sympathetic to the roots of Shinto, these are difficult times indeed.
**********************************************************************
He’s Pro-Shinto, But Not That Pro-Shinto FRIDAY, JANUARY 03, 2014 by Michael Cucek
Shisaku posts normally contain at least two or three typos, due to my own unfortunate haste and the reality that this is a private sharing of information and opinion.
The Huffington Post, by contrast, is a commercial venture, where an urge to preserve a modicum of decorum would predicate a second set of eyes perusing a piece prior to its publication on the website. Which is what makes today’s featured Huffington Post post on Japan so very special [in that the author makes the glaring error of referring to the Japanese prime minister as ‘Shinto Abe’ instead of Shinzo Abe].
Shinzo Abe, or Shinto Abe?
The author, Dr. Peter Navarro, is a professor at the University of California, Irvine (I am not making this up). His personal website directs you to to his documentary site, deathbychina.com, where, among other things, one can download a free copy of the “Death by China” theme song (I am not making this up, either).
Of special note is the author’s having the prime minister visiting the “Yasukuni Shin” — which, one must assume, is somewhere in between the Yasukuni Foot and the Yasukuni Knee.
For the record, Abe Shinzo is a Shinto chauvinist, meaning that he not only publicly participates in Shinto rituals whilst in the dress of a public official, but he is leader or significant member of a number of political organizations aiming to promote a politico-social role for Shinto.
Abe is the chairman of the Shinto Political Alliance Diet Member’s Roundtable(Shinto seiji renmei kokkai giin kondankai), the Diet arm of the Shinto Political Alliance (Shinto seiji renmei, or Shinseiren), an organization established in 1966 to combat, according to the organization’s website, the spirit of postwar materialism and the accelerating loss of memory of what is Japanese and what it means to be a Japanese.
Abe is also the chairman of Japan’s Rebirth (Sosei Nippon)*, an organization recently featured here. Japan’s Rebirth seeks a reawakening of the pride of the Japanese people in their history and culture, with a special focus of the Imperial House. Given the prominence of the thought of Yoshida Shoin in the organization’s literature (Yoshida’s spirit being, in Prime Minister Abe’s life, a focus of special reverence) and given the special mention in the group’s guiding principles to a fight against permanent residents receiving the right to vote in local elections. Sosei Nippon should be seen as a rinsed and limp version of the 19th century’s sonno joi(“Revere the Emperor/Expel the Barbarian”) movement. As such, Shinto, particularly a version of State Shinto, is definitely in the Japan’s Rebirth tool set.
Abe has always been a prominent member, of course, of the Association of Diet Members for Worshiping at Yasukuni Shrine Together (Minna de Yasukuni jinja ni sanpai suru giin no kai) which organizes the Yasukuni mass visits of Diet members and advocates a a normalization of Yasukuni to the point where Cabinet members and the Emperor pay regular official visits to the shrine.
So yes, Professor Navarro, there is a “Shinto Abe” — but only in spirit, not name.
**********************************************************
* What is Sosei Nippon?
For a description of the organization in English there is Matthew Penney’s guide to the revisionist organizations boasting Cabinet ministers as members. Therein Sosei Nippon (“Japan’s Rebirth”) is described as: A Diet group formed in 2007. Members pledge to “protect Japanese traditions and culture”, “rethink the postwar order”, and “protect Japan’s national interests and make Japan a country respected by international society”.
They have hosted lectures by rightist pundits and pledged to stand against proposals to allow husbands and wives to have different surnames – something that the group argued would undermine “family togetherness” – and moves to allow permanent residents to vote in local elections, part of a larger pattern of assertions by conservative lawmakers that foreigners in Japan are neither loyal nor committed to the Japanese state and undermine the social order.
The Sankei Shimbun published the following account about a Nov 26, 2013 meeting, highlighting the following: At Sosei Nippon Gathering, Prime Minister Says, “I Will Take Us Back To A Japan of Glory”
Sosei Nippon, the cross-party league of Diet members which has Prime Minister Abe Shinzo as its chairman, held, on November 26, its study reunion inside the Diet Members #1 Office Building. By declaring, “This is only the start of our taking Japan back to glory,” the PM demonstrated his desire to press forward with a politics deeply rooted in conservatism.
At the reunion there were about 400 persons, including members of the Diet and local assembly lawmakers. Chairman of the National Safety Commission Furuya Keiji called out to the group, “The role of [this league] is to root real conservatism deep in the earth.” State Minister for Administrative Reform Inada Tomomi put forth the appeal, “What I want to realize is the casting off of the postwar regime.”
He's looking for glory, wants to shake off the postwar constitution, and he wants you to support him
Abe's Shinto Chauvinism-Green
https://www.greenshinto.com/.../03/abes-shinto-chauvinism/
locus_15700.jpg.jpeg
What if Germany elected a leader who was part of a radical nationalist group that believed Germany should no longer acknowledge that it committed war crimes during World War ii? What if that group said historic accounts of Germany massacring Jews and other groups were “either exaggerated or fabricated”? What if that group believed Germany should, in fact, be applauded for “liberating” Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and other nations during the war?
What if the stated goal of the organization was to return modern Germany to its World War ii-era “glory”?
And what if this German leader successfully stacked his cabinet with members of that same organization?
This is essentially the actual situation in Japan today. Yet the fact that more than half of Japan’s top leaders hold these beliefs regarding their country seems to attract little attention, especially outside of Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a member of the Nippon Kaigi (“Japan Conference”), a somewhat secretive group determined to normalize the Japanese military, teach history in a way that cultivates patriotism in young students, and restore the imperial family as the center of Japanese life. Ten of Mr. Abe’s 19 cabinet members also belong to this shadowy organization.
Resentment Born in Defeat
Shintoism is the ancient animist religion native to Japan. Leading up to and during World War ii, State Shinto, intertwined with nationalism and militarism, was Imperial Japan’s national religion. State Shinto promoted an ideology of Japanese racial superiority and the notion that Emperor Hirohito was a divinity, destined to rule the entire world. The fanaticism of Imperial Japan’s soldiers—and civilians—was driven largely by these religious beliefs.
The toxicity of this faith rendered many Japanese incapable of surrendering—even when offered the chance while facing insurmountable odds.
After Japan’s defeat in 1945, the U.S.-led Allied Occupation sought to root out the Japanese radicalism that had caused so much suffering throughout East Asia. The Allies abolished State Shinto, forced Hirohito to publicly renounce the idea that he was a god, and wrote a new constitution for Japan, saying its people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right” and that they also renounce “the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”
After Tokyo’s defeat, most Japanese accepted the outcome and embraced the postwar realities, which included a prolonged period of extremely rapid economic growth and a surge in the general quality of life in Japan. Most Japanese were grateful to the American-led occupation for bringing prosperity, stability and democracy to the nation.
But not everyone was remorseful about Japan’s wartime behavior. Not everyone was willing to accept the war’s outcome, including the Allied Occupation. In the early 1970s, some who were resentful of Japan’s defeat formed a State Shinto revival group called Nihon wo Mamoru Kai. They championed the trashing of Japan’s pacifist constitution and a return to nationalism and emperor worship.
In 1997, this group merged with a similar nationalist organization called Nihono Mamoru Kokumin Kaigi. The two became Nippon Kaigi.
The United States Congressional Research Service concluded in a recent report that Nippon Kaigi believes that “Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate,” that the Massacre of Nanking was either “exaggerated or fabricated,” and that “Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia” during World War ii.
The Economist listed the following as Nippon Kaigi’s primary goals: “[A]pplaud Japan’s wartime ‘liberation’ of East Asia from Western colonialism; rebuild the armed forces; inculcate patriotism among students brainwashed by left-wing teachers; and revere the emperor as he was worshiped in the good old days before the war” (June 6, 2015).
Kobayashi Setsu, a former member of the group and one of Japan’s top constitutional scholars, said Nippon Kaigi members “have trouble accepting the reality that Japan lost the war.” This is in part because some of the group’s members are descendants of those who instigated the war. Many, Setsu says, openly long for the days of Japan’s great-power status.
This is the group influencing the most powerful people in Japan.
Today, Nippon Kaigi has only around 38,000 full members. Yet it wields influence far beyond its membership rolls because its network reaches deeply into the various echelons of government.
Besides Prime Minister Abe, many other government officials also belong to Nippon Kaigi, including Mr. Abe’s deputy prime minister; his state ministers of defense, foreign affairs, education, health, reconstruction, and his chief cabinet secretary; and 289 of the 480 members of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. Other Nippon Kaigi members include numerous state and local lawmakers, renowned academics and authors, media moguls, leading Shinto priests, titans of industry, high-ranking diplomats and military officers, the great-grandson of Emperor Meiji and former Prime Minister Tarō Asō. Even a famous former sumo wrestler is among the group’s ranks. Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, who became governor of Tokyo in July, is another highly influential member. The former head of Nippon Kaigi was the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Japan.
Why So Little Coverage?
For decades, Nippon Kaigi received little attention in Japan’s mainstream media, and even less outside of the country. That changed in spring of last year when researcher Tamotsu Sugano published an exposé called Nippon Kaigi No Kenkyu (A Study on the Japan Conference). The book sold more than 153,000 copies, making it a surprise bestseller and bringing Nippon Kaigi’s vast influence out of the shadows.
Sugano’s book shows that Nippon Kaigi’s main accomplishment has been uniting various nationalist organizations within a like-minded program. “Throughout 40 years of history,” he said, “it has been sending almost the same message and focusing on the same priority: educating the young generation.”
On January 6, in a rare and telling move, a Tokyo court ordered the book’s publisher to suspend all publication of A Study on the Japan Conference on the grounds that it contained defamatory information. The Japan Times noted on January 7, “It is rare for a court to suspend publication of a bestseller in Japan.”
Opponents of Nippon Kaigi say the court’s decision fits with the idea that the group wields considerable influence to suppress those who seek to expose that very influence.
Nippon Kaigi’s Accomplishments
The Economist said Nippon Kaigi has proved itself to have “a formidable ability to mobilize.” A major example of this came in 2006 when the group collected 3.6 million signatures demanding judicial reforms that would legally require schools to teach patriotism to students. The signatures were enough to pass the controversial legislation, which helped to ban “left wing” curricula and to reinstate the traditions of standing for Japan’s Hinomaru flag and singing the national anthem.
“Enacting a law with this requirement was one of the few things that Mr. Abe accomplished in his first, inglorious term as prime minister from 2006 to 2007,” the Economist said.
Around the same time, Nippon Kaigi played a vital role in convincing the government to restore April 29, the birthday of wartime Emperor Hirohito, as an official national holiday.
Sugano says it is clear that without Nippon Kaigi, Mr. Abe would not have been successful in returning to politics after his resignation in 2007 convinced many that his political career was finished. But with the group’s guidance and backing, Mr. Abe returned in 2012 and has gone on to win another two consecutive national elections.
Writing for the Daily Beast on July 9, 2016, Jake Adelstein and Mari Yamamoto said Nippon Kaigi was also instrumental in “getting the Japanese government to reinstitute the Imperial Calendar, which was banished by the U.S. occupation government.” That change means that while it is 2017 in the Western world, in Japan, it is year 29 of the Heisei Period. Adelstein and Yamamoto wrote, “The system is so confusing that many reporters in Japan carry a handy chart to translate the Imperial Calendar dates into Western time.”
Perhaps the most compelling evidence of Nippon Kaigi’s power came in the summer of 2015, when the Diet held heated debates about whether the country should have a right to collective self-defense. Sugano says the crucial factor in delivering victory to those arguing to restore that military capability was the testimony of three leading constitutional scholars. All three were Nippon Kaigi members or affiliates.
This victory equated to a milestone “reinterpretation” of the Constitution that expanded Japan’s military role abroad. Some 14 months later, in a clear indication that history is on the march, Japan’s first armed soldiers since the end of World War ii deployed overseas.
With Japan’s economic and industrial excellence, all it lacks to transform its defense forces into a nuclear-armed world-class military is will. Nippon Kaigi members have that missing element in abundance.
What Lies Ahead?
The Economist noted that Nippon Kaigi’s opponents have been impressed by the success that the group and its affiliates have had in “quietly transform[ing] the landscape of Japanese politics” (op cit). Yet Nippon Kaigi members themselves “are frustrated over what they see as the slow pace of change,” it wrote.
That pace, however, could soon pick up. As of July 2016, Mr. Abe, his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners have a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet. This unprecedented double supermajority makes Mr. Abe the most powerful Japanese prime minister in postwar history.
Some analysts have argued that since Nippon Kaigi’s membership is comprised overwhelmingly of older individuals, it will soon die out and doesn’t need to be feared. But the age factor could infuse Mr. Abe and other members with greater urgency to return Japan to its war-era “glory.”
“I don’t think many people have grasped yet what is happening in Japan,” said Tawara Yoshifumi, head of the nonprofit group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21. “The situation is very dangerous.” Tessa Suzuki, a professor of modern Japanese history at Australian National University, agrees. She told the Japan Times she is “enormously concerned about the way Japan is going.”
National Review columnist Josh Gelernter said July 16, 2016, that “it would probably be a good idea [for America] … not to stand idly by while our most important Asian ally, and the second-richest democracy in the world, reverts to fascism.”
Nippon Kaigi’s “strength is growing,” said Norihiro Kato, professor emeritus of Waseda University. “And there is no telling when its members might start saying what really is on their mind: ‘Take Back Japan From America’” (New York Times, Sept. 12, 2014).
A Prophesied Resurgence
In 1971, when even Nippon Kaigi’s forerunner groups were little more than whispers among closet nationalists, educator Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that Japan would awake from its postwar slumber, cast off the pacifism the U.S. imposed on it, and return to formidable militarism. “Japan today has no military establishment,” he wrote. “But we should not lose sight of the fact that Japan has become so powerful economically that it could build a military force of very great power very rapidly” (Plain Truth, March 1971).
Mr. Armstrong’s view was informed by Bible prophecy. He understood that Japan would be a key part of a massive end-time Asian military power bloc that the Bible calls “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). Ezekiel 38:6 specifies that “Gomer” and “Togarmah” will be part of this power bloc. These are ancient names for the main peoples that make up modern Japan.
For decades, Mr. Armstrong’s forecast could have seemed alarmist to many Japanese and students of geopolitics. But now, in part because of the rise of Nippon Kaigi, that forecast no longer appears far-fetched. Today, as we face the prospect of nationalists and hard-liners dismantling Japan’s pacifist architecture and leading a revival of the nationalism, militarism and emperor worship that made Japan an unusually ruthless military machine.
Japan's

Japan's rising right-wing nationalism

The Cryptic Nationalist Group St
Conservatives seek to expand the role of Japan's indigenous faith in public life. But critics warn that could feed a simmering nationalism.
https://www.csmonitor.com/.../Reviving-Shinto-Prime...
Kyodo News/AP
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Ise Grand Shrine with his cabinet members in January. Mr. Abe prays at the shrine every New Year.
October 5, 2015
By Michael Holtz Staff writer
TOKYO
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s deep adoration for the Ise Grand Shrine, the most sacred Shinto site in Japan, is no secret. He visits every New Year and reportedly even postponed a cabinet meeting in 2013 to attend a ceremony on its hallowed ground.
So when Mr. Abe announced this summer that the 2016 summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations would be held in the nearby resort city of Shima, Satoru Otowa wasn’t surprised.
“I believe it has something to do with his Shinto beliefs,” Mr. Otowa, a spokesman for the shrine, said while leading a tour there in August. “When the prime minister visited in January, everyone saw how passionately he prayed.”
The decision to host the G-7 summit near Ise underscores Abe’s devout Shinto faith. Yet his commitment to Japan’s indigenous religion has led to far more than symbolic gestures. He and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have pursued a wide range of Shinto-inspired policies – from more openly embracing Japan’s imperial heritage to reforming aspects of Japanese education and even re-evaluating the country's wartime record – with the explicit goal of renewing what they say are traditional values.
As old perhaps as Japan itself, Shinto has no explicit creed or major religious texts. Its adherents pray to “kami,” spirits found in objects both living and inanimate, and believe in a complex body of folklore that emphasizes ancestor worship. But as Japan modernized in the late 19th century, officials made Shinto the state religion, and Japanese were taught to view​ the emperor as having divine stature. The religion became closely associated with Japanese militarism, leading to its separation from state institutions after World War II.
What underlies US inertia on mass shootings? It may be lack of trust.
Shinto struggled for decades to find a place in postwar Japan, and given the religion's history, some critics see the country's newfound interest in it as a sign of simmering nationalism at best. At worst, they describe it as a reprise of the official State Shinto of imperial Japan.
But among conservatives it reflects a palpable fear that Japan has somehow gone adrift after two decades of economic stagnation, rampant materialism, and the rise of neighboring China. Many believe the time has come for the religion to regain its rightful place in the public sphere.
“Shinto is refusing to be restricted to the private and family life,” says Mark Mullins, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “There is this sense that Japan needs to get back what it lost after World War II and that this will be good for the nation.”
Rich Clabaugh/Staff
Flying the flag
One of Keiji Furuya’s most formative experiences was the three years he spent as an exchange student in New York as a young teenager. Mr. Furuya, who has since become one of Japan’s most conservative LDP lawmakers, recalls marveling at America’s unabashed displays of patriotism. He was astonished to see flags billowing from front porches and students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
Growing up in Japan, Furuya's never saw such displays. The official Shinto ideology used to promote Japanese superiority and a presumed right to govern Asia was tucked away after Japan's defeat in 1945. Emperor Hirohito renounced his divine status as a “living god” in early 1946 and the country’s new Constitution, drafted by US occupation forces, enshrined pacifism as national policy.
The Constitution also mandated the separation of state and religion. The US occupation not only ended Shinto's official designation, it inaugurated a period when Shinto began to disappear from Japanese society altogether. Shinto, along with the nationalism it helped spawn, quickly became taboo.
“For people like me who went through the postwar education system in Japan, raising a flag was not a popular thing to do,” Furuya said in August during an interview in his office conference room. As if to make up for the loss, the room had been adorned with three flags. “But as time went by,” he added, “I came to believe that it was natural to have respect and pride in one’s own country.”
It’s a belief that has come to define much of Furuya’s political career. He was first elected to Japan’s lower house of parliament in 1990 and re-elected to an eighth term in 2012. He also serves in Abe’s cabinet. As a defender of what he calls “true conservatism,” he considers it his duty to protect Japanese traditional values. To do so, he says, “We need drastic reforms.”
Interest in such reform has been building for much of the past decade. Masahiko Fujiwara's "Dignity of a Nation" sold 2 million copies in 2006 and revived the concept of "bushido," the honor code of the samurai. The former ultranationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, spoke of the Japan "that could say no" to the US. And the introduction of patriotic education in public schools was one of Abe's top initiatives during his first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007.
More recently, a new wave of conservatives – often compared to members of the tea party in the US – helped the LDP win a landslide victory in 2012 and put Abe back in power. Their support helped him pass a package of laws last month that allows Japan to send troops abroad in support of allies for the first time in its postwar era.
Shinto Association
Furuya’s support for a wide range of initiatives that aim to revive pieces of prewar Japanese culture led him to join Shinto Seiji Renmei (the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership). Since its founding in 1969, Seiji Renmei has transformed into one of the most influential political lobbying groups in Japan. According to the most recent count, 302 parliament members are affiliated with the association, compared with 44 two decades ago. Abe and many of his top cabinet officials – including the deputy prime minister, defense minister, and justice minister – are longtime members.
Seiji Renmei's mission is to reclaim the spiritual values that it says were lost under the US occupation. The association supports efforts to revise Japan’s pacifist Constitution, encourage patriotic and moral education, and promote the return of the emperor to a more prominent place in Japanese society. It also calls for restoring the special status of Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial memorial to Japan’s war dead, including convicted war criminals from World War II.
"After the war, there was an atmosphere that considered all aspects of the prewar era bad," former Seiji Renmei director Yutaka Yuzawa told Reuters last December. "Policies were adopted weakening the relationship between the imperial household and the people,” he added, “and the most fundamental elements of Japanese history were not taught in the schools."
Seiji Renmei declined multiple requests for an interview from The Christian Science Monitor.
Iwahashi Katsuji, a spokesman for the Association of Shinto Shrines, a closely linked organization that administers 80,000 shrines in Japan, says it’s time for the Japanese to re-evaluate their past.
“Even after the Meiji Restoration there are many good points,” he says, referring to Japan's rapid transformation from a feudal farming society into an industrial power at the end of the 19th century. “Just saying that Japan lost the war and that Japan was bad and evil is not constructive.”
A growing influence?
Inoue Nobutaka, a professor of Shinto studies at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, says it’s far from clear how much of the past Abe and his supporters want to revive. But he contends that organizations such as Seiji Renmei and Nippon Kaigi, a like-minded nationalist group, hold more sway over the Abe administration than they did over its predecessors.
“These groups have been politically active for a long time,” Dr. Nobutaka says. “Their influence has grown because Abe has turned to them for support.”
That support is starting to pay off. With the help of Furuya, who heads a group of conservative lawmakers that promotes the cultivation of patriotic values in schools, Seiji Renmei and its allies have gained some of the most ground in education.
The group argues that changes in the education system are essential to restoring Japanese pride, which they say has eroded over decades of teachers imparting “a masochistic view of history” on their students. Its members dispute the death toll of the 1937 massacre in Nanking that the Chinese government says stands at 300,000, and deny that the Japanese Army played a direct role in forcing so-called comfort women to provide sex to its soldiers in China and Korea.
The group launched a campaign this summer to encourage local education boards to adopt revised textbooks that eliminate negative depictions of Japan’s wartime activities. The strategy is gaining attention. Last month, 31 school districts in 14 prefectures had agreed to use the more conservative textbooks in their junior high schools, up from 23 districts in 11 prefectures four years ago.
Those achievements came after Abe pledged in January to fight what he called mistaken views about Japan’s wartime actions. Yet history is an unresolved subject in East Asia. In the eyes of China and South Korea, two victims of Japan’s early 20th-century aggression, Abe and his supporters are historical revisionists who want to whitewash the country’s wartime atrocities.
Abe’s critics warn the new textbooks could weaken an antiwar message they say has helped keep Japan peaceful for seven decades. But supporters like Furuya argue that they are needed to instill a new sense of patriotism among young people.
“That doesn’t mean we’re fostering nationalism,” Furuya says. “I believe it is natural to understand our country’s history correctly and to have respect for our country.”
The Ise mystique
The Ise Grand Shrine is a sprawling, tree-covered complex located in Mie prefecture, about 200 miles southwest of Tokyo near the Pacific coast. The sun goddess Amaterasu, a major Shinto deity who is believed to be an ancestral god of the imperial family, is enshrined in its inner sanctum. Her story is a powerful legend that draws millions of Japanese every year to pray at the shrine. It's one that Abe is eager to share with the world.
“I wanted to choose a place where world leaders could have a full taste and feel of Japan’s beautiful nature, bountiful culture, and traditions,” he told reporters after announcing the location of the G-7 summit.
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Never mind that the governor of Mie prefecture hadn’t even submitted a bid to host the summit when the deadline came and went last August. At the time, Hiroshima and Sendai, a major city in the area ravaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, were widely considered the frontrunners.
But it soon became clear that the prime minister had other plans. That December his staff contacted the Mie governor to encourage him to enter the race, according to reports in Japanese media. On Jan. 21, just weeks after Abe visited Ise to celebrate the New Year, Shima’s candidacy was announced. He declared it the winner on June 5.
The summit will in fact be held on an island off the coast of Shima. Yet that hasn’t stopped Abe from calling the host city Ise-Shima in an apparent effort to draw more attention to his beloved shrine.
Abe’s Shinto chauvinism Green Shinto
The Cryptic Nationalist Group Steering Japan & Abe Will the Nippon Kaigi group steer Japan into a repetition of World War II-era nationalism?
https://www.greenshinto.com/.../03/abes-shinto-chauvinism/
JANUARY 3, 2014 / JOHN D. / 0 COMMENTS
An article by Michael Cucek in his Shisaku blog highlights the political ends to which Shinto is currently being put by the nationalist administration led by prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Underlying the policy is a desire to reinstate the ideology of pre-war State Shinto, and the recent Yasukuni visits by members of the cabinet are clearly part of an orchestrated step-by-step movement in that direction, as the following makes plain…
Apologists for Yasukuni like to pretend that the prime ministerial visits are religious in nature. How gullible can one be? Naivity can be no excuse for complicity in the agenda of the extreme right, and the recent controversial secrets law, which curtails freedom of expression, indicates how serious is the present situation. There is a point at which one has to stand up and take sides, and that point may well be upon us. For those of us sympathetic to the roots of Shinto, these are difficult times indeed.
**********************************************************************
He’s Pro-Shinto, But Not That Pro-Shinto FRIDAY, JANUARY 03, 2014 by Michael Cucek
Shisaku posts normally contain at least two or three typos, due to my own unfortunate haste and the reality that this is a private sharing of information and opinion.
The Huffington Post, by contrast, is a commercial venture, where an urge to preserve a modicum of decorum would predicate a second set of eyes perusing a piece prior to its publication on the website. Which is what makes today’s featured Huffington Post post on Japan so very special [in that the author makes the glaring error of referring to the Japanese prime minister as ‘Shinto Abe’ instead of Shinzo Abe].
Shinzo Abe, or Shinto Abe?
The author, Dr. Peter Navarro, is a professor at the University of California, Irvine (I am not making this up). His personal website directs you to to his documentary site, deathbychina.com, where, among other things, one can download a free copy of the “Death by China” theme song (I am not making this up, either).
Of special note is the author’s having the prime minister visiting the “Yasukuni Shin” — which, one must assume, is somewhere in between the Yasukuni Foot and the Yasukuni Knee.
For the record, Abe Shinzo is a Shinto chauvinist, meaning that he not only publicly participates in Shinto rituals whilst in the dress of a public official, but he is leader or significant member of a number of political organizations aiming to promote a politico-social role for Shinto.
Abe is the chairman of the Shinto Political Alliance Diet Member’s Roundtable(Shinto seiji renmei kokkai giin kondankai), the Diet arm of the Shinto Political Alliance (Shinto seiji renmei, or Shinseiren), an organization established in 1966 to combat, according to the organization’s website, the spirit of postwar materialism and the accelerating loss of memory of what is Japanese and what it means to be a Japanese.
Abe is also the chairman of Japan’s Rebirth (Sosei Nippon)*, an organization recently featured here. Japan’s Rebirth seeks a reawakening of the pride of the Japanese people in their history and culture, with a special focus of the Imperial House. Given the prominence of the thought of Yoshida Shoin in the organization’s literature (Yoshida’s spirit being, in Prime Minister Abe’s life, a focus of special reverence) and given the special mention in the group’s guiding principles to a fight against permanent residents receiving the right to vote in local elections. Sosei Nippon should be seen as a rinsed and limp version of the 19th century’s sonno joi(“Revere the Emperor/Expel the Barbarian”) movement. As such, Shinto, particularly a version of State Shinto, is definitely in the Japan’s Rebirth tool set.
Abe has always been a prominent member, of course, of the Association of Diet Members for Worshiping at Yasukuni Shrine Together (Minna de Yasukuni jinja ni sanpai suru giin no kai) which organizes the Yasukuni mass visits of Diet members and advocates a a normalization of Yasukuni to the point where Cabinet members and the Emperor pay regular official visits to the shrine.
So yes, Professor Navarro, there is a “Shinto Abe” — but only in spirit, not name.
**********************************************************
* What is Sosei Nippon?
For a description of the organization in English there is Matthew Penney’s guide to the revisionist organizations boasting Cabinet ministers as members. Therein Sosei Nippon (“Japan’s Rebirth”) is described as: A Diet group formed in 2007. Members pledge to “protect Japanese traditions and culture”, “rethink the postwar order”, and “protect Japan’s national interests and make Japan a country respected by international society”.
They have hosted lectures by rightist pundits and pledged to stand against proposals to allow husbands and wives to have different surnames – something that the group argued would undermine “family togetherness” – and moves to allow permanent residents to vote in local elections, part of a larger pattern of assertions by conservative lawmakers that foreigners in Japan are neither loyal nor committed to the Japanese state and undermine the social order.
The Sankei Shimbun published the following account about a Nov 26, 2013 meeting, highlighting the following: At Sosei Nippon Gathering, Prime Minister Says, “I Will Take Us Back To A Japan of Glory”
Sosei Nippon, the cross-party league of Diet members which has Prime Minister Abe Shinzo as its chairman, held, on November 26, its study reunion inside the Diet Members #1 Office Building. By declaring, “This is only the start of our taking Japan back to glory,” the PM demonstrated his desire to press forward with a politics deeply rooted in conservatism.
At the reunion there were about 400 persons, including members of the Diet and local assembly lawmakers. Chairman of the National Safety Commission Furuya Keiji called out to the group, “The role of [this league] is to root real conservatism deep in the earth.” State Minister for Administrative Reform Inada Tomomi put forth the appeal, “What I want to realize is the casting off of the postwar regime.”
He's looking for glory, wants to shake off the postwar constitution, and he wants you to support him
Abe's Shinto Chauvinism-Green
https://www.greenshinto.com/.../03/abes-shinto-chauvinism/
locus_15700.jpg.jpeg
What if Germany elected a leader who was part of a radical nationalist group that believed Germany should no longer acknowledge that it committed war crimes during World War ii? What if that group said historic accounts of Germany massacring Jews and other groups were “either exaggerated or fabricated”? What if that group believed Germany should, in fact, be applauded for “liberating” Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and other nations during the war?
What if the stated goal of the organization was to return modern Germany to its World War ii-era “glory”?
And what if this German leader successfully stacked his cabinet with members of that same organization?
This is essentially the actual situation in Japan today. Yet the fact that more than half of Japan’s top leaders hold these beliefs regarding their country seems to attract little attention, especially outside of Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a member of the Nippon Kaigi (“Japan Conference”), a somewhat secretive group determined to normalize the Japanese military, teach history in a way that cultivates patriotism in young students, and restore the imperial family as the center of Japanese life. Ten of Mr. Abe’s 19 cabinet members also belong to this shadowy organization.
Resentment Born in Defeat
Shintoism is the ancient animist religion native to Japan. Leading up to and during World War ii, State Shinto, intertwined with nationalism and militarism, was Imperial Japan’s national religion. State Shinto promoted an ideology of Japanese racial superiority and the notion that Emperor Hirohito was a divinity, destined to rule the entire world. The fanaticism of Imperial Japan’s soldiers—and civilians—was driven largely by these religious beliefs.
The toxicity of this faith rendered many Japanese incapable of surrendering—even when offered the chance while facing insurmountable odds.
After Japan’s defeat in 1945, the U.S.-led Allied Occupation sought to root out the Japanese radicalism that had caused so much suffering throughout East Asia. The Allies abolished State Shinto, forced Hirohito to publicly renounce the idea that he was a god, and wrote a new constitution for Japan, saying its people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right” and that they also renounce “the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”
After Tokyo’s defeat, most Japanese accepted the outcome and embraced the postwar realities, which included a prolonged period of extremely rapid economic growth and a surge in the general quality of life in Japan. Most Japanese were grateful to the American-led occupation for bringing prosperity, stability and democracy to the nation.
But not everyone was remorseful about Japan’s wartime behavior. Not everyone was willing to accept the war’s outcome, including the Allied Occupation. In the early 1970s, some who were resentful of Japan’s defeat formed a State Shinto revival group called Nihon wo Mamoru Kai. They championed the trashing of Japan’s pacifist constitution and a return to nationalism and emperor worship.
In 1997, this group merged with a similar nationalist organization called Nihono Mamoru Kokumin Kaigi. The two became Nippon Kaigi.
The United States Congressional Research Service concluded in a recent report that Nippon Kaigi believes that “Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate,” that the Massacre of Nanking was either “exaggerated or fabricated,” and that “Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia” during World War ii.
The Economist listed the following as Nippon Kaigi’s primary goals: “[A]pplaud Japan’s wartime ‘liberation’ of East Asia from Western colonialism; rebuild the armed forces; inculcate patriotism among students brainwashed by left-wing teachers; and revere the emperor as he was worshiped in the good old days before the war” (June 6, 2015).
Kobayashi Setsu, a former member of the group and one of Japan’s top constitutional scholars, said Nippon Kaigi members “have trouble accepting the reality that Japan lost the war.” This is in part because some of the group’s members are descendants of those who instigated the war. Many, Setsu says, openly long for the days of Japan’s great-power status.
This is the group influencing the most powerful people in Japan.
Today, Nippon Kaigi has only around 38,000 full members. Yet it wields influence far beyond its membership rolls because its network reaches deeply into the various echelons of government.
Besides Prime Minister Abe, many other government officials also belong to Nippon Kaigi, including Mr. Abe’s deputy prime minister; his state ministers of defense, foreign affairs, education, health, reconstruction, and his chief cabinet secretary; and 289 of the 480 members of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. Other Nippon Kaigi members include numerous state and local lawmakers, renowned academics and authors, media moguls, leading Shinto priests, titans of industry, high-ranking diplomats and military officers, the great-grandson of Emperor Meiji and former Prime Minister Tarō Asō. Even a famous former sumo wrestler is among the group’s ranks. Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, who became governor of Tokyo in July, is another highly influential member. The former head of Nippon Kaigi was the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Japan.
Why So Little Coverage?
For decades, Nippon Kaigi received little attention in Japan’s mainstream media, and even less outside of the country. That changed in spring of last year when researcher Tamotsu Sugano published an exposé called Nippon Kaigi No Kenkyu (A Study on the Japan Conference). The book sold more than 153,000 copies, making it a surprise bestseller and bringing Nippon Kaigi’s vast influence out of the shadows.
Sugano’s book shows that Nippon Kaigi’s main accomplishment has been uniting various nationalist organizations within a like-minded program. “Throughout 40 years of history,” he said, “it has been sending almost the same message and focusing on the same priority: educating the young generation.”
On January 6, in a rare and telling move, a Tokyo court ordered the book’s publisher to suspend all publication of A Study on the Japan Conference on the grounds that it contained defamatory information. The Japan Times noted on January 7, “It is rare for a court to suspend publication of a bestseller in Japan.”
Opponents of Nippon Kaigi say the court’s decision fits with the idea that the group wields considerable influence to suppress those who seek to expose that very influence.
Nippon Kaigi’s Accomplishments
The Economist said Nippon Kaigi has proved itself to have “a formidable ability to mobilize.” A major example of this came in 2006 when the group collected 3.6 million signatures demanding judicial reforms that would legally require schools to teach patriotism to students. The signatures were enough to pass the controversial legislation, which helped to ban “left wing” curricula and to reinstate the traditions of standing for Japan’s Hinomaru flag and singing the national anthem.
“Enacting a law with this requirement was one of the few things that Mr. Abe accomplished in his first, inglorious term as prime minister from 2006 to 2007,” the Economist said.
Around the same time, Nippon Kaigi played a vital role in convincing the government to restore April 29, the birthday of wartime Emperor Hirohito, as an official national holiday.
Sugano says it is clear that without Nippon Kaigi, Mr. Abe would not have been successful in returning to politics after his resignation in 2007 convinced many that his political career was finished. But with the group’s guidance and backing, Mr. Abe returned in 2012 and has gone on to win another two consecutive national elections.
Writing for the Daily Beast on July 9, 2016, Jake Adelstein and Mari Yamamoto said Nippon Kaigi was also instrumental in “getting the Japanese government to reinstitute the Imperial Calendar, which was banished by the U.S. occupation government.” That change means that while it is 2017 in the Western world, in Japan, it is year 29 of the Heisei Period. Adelstein and Yamamoto wrote, “The system is so confusing that many reporters in Japan carry a handy chart to translate the Imperial Calendar dates into Western time.”
Perhaps the most compelling evidence of Nippon Kaigi’s power came in the summer of 2015, when the Diet held heated debates about whether the country should have a right to collective self-defense. Sugano says the crucial factor in delivering victory to those arguing to restore that military capability was the testimony of three leading constitutional scholars. All three were Nippon Kaigi members or affiliates.
This victory equated to a milestone “reinterpretation” of the Constitution that expanded Japan’s military role abroad. Some 14 months later, in a clear indication that history is on the march, Japan’s first armed soldiers since the end of World War ii deployed overseas.
With Japan’s economic and industrial excellence, all it lacks to transform its defense forces into a nuclear-armed world-class military is will. Nippon Kaigi members have that missing element in abundance.
What Lies Ahead?
The Economist noted that Nippon Kaigi’s opponents have been impressed by the success that the group and its affiliates have had in “quietly transform[ing] the landscape of Japanese politics” (op cit). Yet Nippon Kaigi members themselves “are frustrated over what they see as the slow pace of change,” it wrote.
That pace, however, could soon pick up. As of July 2016, Mr. Abe, his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners have a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet. This unprecedented double supermajority makes Mr. Abe the most powerful Japanese prime minister in postwar history.
Some analysts have argued that since Nippon Kaigi’s membership is comprised overwhelmingly of older individuals, it will soon die out and doesn’t need to be feared. But the age factor could infuse Mr. Abe and other members with greater urgency to return Japan to its war-era “glory.”
“I don’t think many people have grasped yet what is happening in Japan,” said Tawara Yoshifumi, head of the nonprofit group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21. “The situation is very dangerous.” Tessa Suzuki, a professor of modern Japanese history at Australian National University, agrees. She told the Japan Times she is “enormously concerned about the way Japan is going.”
National Review columnist Josh Gelernter said July 16, 2016, that “it would probably be a good idea [for America] … not to stand idly by while our most important Asian ally, and the second-richest democracy in the world, reverts to fascism.”
Nippon Kaigi’s “strength is growing,” said Norihiro Kato, professor emeritus of Waseda University. “And there is no telling when its members might start saying what really is on their mind: ‘Take Back Japan From America’” (New York Times, Sept. 12, 2014).
A Prophesied Resurgence
In 1971, when even Nippon Kaigi’s forerunner groups were little more than whispers among closet nationalists, educator Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that Japan would awake from its postwar slumber, cast off the pacifism the U.S. imposed on it, and return to formidable militarism. “Japan today has no military establishment,” he wrote. “But we should not lose sight of the fact that Japan has become so powerful economically that it could build a military force of very great power very rapidly” (Plain Truth, March 1971).
Mr. Armstrong’s view was informed by Bible prophecy. He understood that Japan would be a key part of a massive end-time Asian military power bloc that the Bible calls “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). Ezekiel 38:6 specifies that “Gomer” and “Togarmah” will be part of this power bloc. These are ancient names for the main peoples that make up modern Japan.
For decades, Mr. Armstrong’s forecast could have seemed alarmist to many Japanese and students of geopolitics. But now, in part because of the rise of Nippon Kaigi, that forecast no longer appears far-fetched. Today, as we face the prospect of nationalists and hard-liners dismantling Japan’s pacifist architecture and leading a revival of the nationalism, militarism and emperor worship that made Japan an unusually ruthless military machine.
Japan's rising right-wing nationalism

A Right Wing Religous Political Cult And Abe Connection

Editorial: Exposing the truth in Moritomo scandal a test for Japanese democratic politics

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220413/p2a/00m/0op/003000c


April 13, 2022 (Mainichi Japan)
Japanese version

The Finance Ministry's document tampering scandal over the cut-rate sale of Japanese government-owned land to nationalist private school operator Moritomo Gakuen is not yet over. The actual sale of the property in Osaka Prefecture and the doctoring of related documents occurred several years ago, but past events of such significance cannot be allowed to fade from memory.

The affair claimed the life of Toshio Akagi, a worker at the Kinki Local Finance Bureau who killed himself after being forced by his Finance Ministry superiors to falsify official documents related to the land deal. His widow Masako Akagi has been fighting for years to expose every detail of the document tampering, and she recently gave a press conference at the Japan National Press Club.

There, she told reporters that her husband could not have disobeyed the order to fake the documents.

"It's like war," Masako said. "If your superiors say something is white, then it's white, even if it's black. He was under enormous pressure." She added that it was "wrong" for the government "not to reveal how all this happened." She repeatedly said, "I want to know the truth."

Looking for answers, Masako filed a damages suit against the national government, but the state simply accepted liability for her husband Toshio's death, without any offer of explanation. Toshio left a written record of the goings-on over the document tampering in what is dubbed the "Akagi file," which the government at first tried mightily to keep from Masako. It then effectively killed the issue by totally acquiescing to Masako's suit.

Asked in the Diet how the government would proceed next, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared his administration would "respond with care," and "sincerely explain everything." It has been four months since Kishida made those comments, but we can see no change in the government's course on this issue.

The first question about the Moritomo deal that has yet to be answered is: Why was the land sold so cheaply to begin with? This is quickly followed by: How did the words and actions of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, a onetime honorary Moritomo Gakuen principal, impact events?

Masako is now suing to have documentary evidence supplied by the Finance Ministry to the local district public prosecutors' office made public. Yet the government has refused to clarify whether such documents exist or not, on the grounds that it would "impact inquiries" into the scandal. Those inquiries are now over, so this excuse does not hold water.

Despite all this, the Diet has failed in its duty to shed light on the case. As time has passed, voices in the chamber seeking answers over the Moritomo affair have grown few.

Masako is asking that the politicians involved and the Finance Ministry bureaucrats who gave the orders visit her husband's grave. March marked the fourth anniversary of Toshio's death, and Masako has yet to hear from the government.

Reflecting on the stalled effort to uncover the truth about the document doctoring scandal, Masako told reporters that "the government's walls are thick and high." She added that she is pained by the attacks on her she sees on the internet, including, "How long does that woman plan to keep carrying on about this?"

The Moritomo Gakuen scandal has raised a challenge to present democratic politics in Japan. If Prime Minister Kishida wants people to start trusting politics again, then he will have to start putting those words of four months ago into action.




An ultranationalist school, a suicide and a wife on a quest for the truth

Tokyo Letter: ‘Someone knows who told my husband to commit these acts’

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/an-ultranationalist-school-a-suicide-and-a-wife-on-a-quest-for-the-truth-1.4605015Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s name was used to solicit donations for the school. His wife, Akie, was to be its honorary principal. Photograph: Franck Robichon, Pool/Getty
By David McNeill
Sun Jun 27 2021 - 17:14

One evening in March 2018, Masako Akagi returned home to find her husband, Toshio, had killed himself in their apartment. There had been warning signs: Toshio (54) was depressed and had been off work for months.

The morning before he took his own life, he quietly said “thank you” to his wife as she left. “His face was full of despair,” she recalls. “I think he’d been crying.”

Suicides by middle-aged men are not uncommon in Japan but Toshio Akagi's job put him in the crosshairs of a national scandal, implicating then prime minister Shinzo Abe. As a finance ministry bureaucrat, Akagi was ordered to tamper with official documents relating to the sale of public land at a knockdown price to the operator of an ultranationalist school. Abe's name was used to solicit donations for the school. His wife, Akie, was to be its honorary principal.

When the scandal broke, videos circulated on television of children (aged three to five) at the private kindergarten stomping tiny feet along to military dirges, bowing deeply to pictures of the emperor and pledging to give themselves “courageously” to defend the state. At public events, the children exhorted watching adults to protect Japanese territory against “foreign threats”.

Most Japanese were astonished to see children being drilled this way. Their grandparents were once taught similar fare, until the education system was secularised after Japan’s ruinous second World War. Abe had previously praised the school’s owner, saying they shared a “similar ideology”. Akie Abe’s name was later scrubbed from the kindergarten’s website.

Shinzo Abe quit last year citing ill health but Masako Akagi is on a lonely quest to uncover the truth. She has sued the government for damages and demanded it release documents and emails she says would prove the cover-up came from the top. Fearful of retribution, she appears at press conferences disguised, holding her husband’s makeshift suicide rope. “I must know what had happened,” she says.
School expansion

The whole affair might have lingered in obscurity had the school owner not decided to expand. Moritomo Gakuen, the operator of the kindergarten, bought public land from the government in Osaka for about 14 per cent of its estimated value. A primary school founded on the same ultranationalist principles was planned. The original name was to have been the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe memorial elementary school.

Opposition politicians suspected a sweetheart deal backed by nationalist politicians sympathetic to the school's curriculum. Tomomi Inada, the then defence minister, had sent a letter thanking the kindergarten for boosting the morale of Japan's Self-Defence Forces (SDF). Its children were dispatched to the docks to wave off SDF warships.

Under fire, Abe denied any knowledge of the land sale and told parliament in February 2017 that he would quit if anyone proved he or his wife were involved. That was the point, says Akagi, where her husband was called in by Nobuhisa Sagawa, the local bureau chief of the finance ministry, to alter the documents and hide the involvement of Akie Abe, along with other senior officials and politicians.


Tortured with guilt

Akagi says her husband, a diligent and conscientious man, was tortured with guilt at breaking the law. His health deteriorated and he feared the prosecutors and the police would come for him. “He lost his pride as a public servant and despaired,” she says. His suicide letter said he was taking his own life “to take responsibility as someone who knows the truth”.

Last week, Akagi scored a legal win when her lawyer forced the government to disclose the so-called "Akagi file", 500-odd pages detailing her husband's dealings with his bosses at the finance ministry. Redactions, however, concealed the names of officials in Tokyo. "Who was giving orders to Mr Sagawa – that's what we are trying to find out," she says. "Who was above Mr Sagawa?"

An internal investigation by the finance ministry concluded that Sagawa had ordered the cover-up alone. He and a handful of others were punished with pay-cuts and suspensions but nobody was held criminally responsible. Finance minister Taro Aso has refused to order a third-party investigation. Unless Masako Akagi wins her legal fight, there the matter rests.


“Someone knows who told my husband to commit these acts,” she says. Akagi says she is furious that powerful people, including Aso, continue to serve “without resigning or taking any responsibility” for her husband’s death. “I cannot understand their behaviour at all.”
Rumours persist, meanwhile, that a recovered Abe is planning a political comeback.
by Marcus
This is a nicely detailed article, but the title is misleading.

Labeling any group a “cult” based on their Shinto belief system is just as bad as calling any organization with Christian values or belief systems a cult. YMCA, Girl Scouts, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out burger…the list goes on.

Aside from that, this country literally prints “In GOD We Trust” on national currency. Don’t you think that crosses the secular line quite a bit? Whose god? The Hebrew god that many Americans don’t even know the name of??? (Yahweh, btw)

Which country literally thew out Roe VS. Wade based on WHAT value system? How secular is said country, really?

For the record, Shinto predates Christianity..,so people in glass houses really shouldn’t throw “cult” stones.

Fairness in proper journalism INCLUDES the title.
by repost
abe_no_democracy.jpg
Why did Abe appear in a Unification Church video?

Posted on : Jul.12,2022 17:55 KST Modified on : Jul.12,2022 17:55 KST
The relationship between the Unification Church and Japanese political circles is being all the more highlighted due to the religious movement’s enormous success in Japan

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers an address for “Think Tank 2022,” an event jointly organized by the Universal Peace Federation and the FFWPU in September 2021. (provided by UPF)
Reports have surfaced that Tetsuya Yamagami, the man who fatally shot former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, referenced his mother’s religion — the Unification Church — as the motivation for his actions, drawing interest to the religious movement.
While being questioned by police Yamagami reportedly said that his mother is “a follower of the Unification Church” and that he had “targeted Abe due to his ties” to the group. Additionally, he reportedly stated that he “originally wanted to target the leader of the Unification Church,” but believing it would be difficult, he’d attacked Abe, believing the former prime minister of Japan to have ties with the church.
Following her husband’s death, Yamagami’s mother took over his construction company until she went bankrupt 20 years ago. Regarding this, Yamagami reportedly was resentful of the Unification Church, as he believed his mother — a follower of the church — made large donations to the religious movement.
The Unification Church released a statement Monday, in which it said that Yamagami “is not a member of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), and there are no records indicating he was a member of the federation in the past.” The church added that the suspect’s mother has been attending Family Federation events once a month.
According to Japanese media, Yamagami reportedly “believed [Abe] had ties [with the Unification Church] due to a video message he sent [to the church] and was not motivated by a grudge concerning [Abe’s] politics.”
As a matter of fact, last September, Abe delivered a keynote address at the Rally of Hope event co-hosted by the Universal Peace Federation — a group affiliated with the Unification Church — and the FFWPU via video following their launch ceremony for “Think Tank 2022: Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.” During his address, Abe said: “Some countries, including totalitarian and hegemonic regimes, are attempting to bring about change by force. Political maneuvering of this type should stop. [. . .] Thus, the need for more solidarity between countries that share the values of freedom and democracy — such as Japan, the United States, Taiwan and South Korea — is more pressing than ever.”
The event saw other participants along with Abe, such as former US President Donald Trump, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and former President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
Concerning this, the Unification Church remarked in its statement, “The suspect’s argument that he targeted Abe, one of the top leaders of Japan, simply because he delivered a video address for our federation does not align with common sense.” It continued, “As the incident was an extreme one born out of a difficult growth process within a family that’s hard to understand, we anticipate law enforcement agencies to clearly investigate the criminal motive of the suspect.”
Abe seems to have made his video address for the Unification Church event due to the long-held ties between the church and right-wing political forces in Japan. Moon Sun-myung (1920-2012), the founder of the Unification Church, reportedly held intimate ties with right-wing Japanese politicians ever since the founding of the Japan chapter of the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC) in April 1968.

Moon Sun-myung, the founder of the Unification Church (Hankyoreh file photo)
The relationship between the Unification Church and Japanese right-wing political forces can also be seen in the fact that former Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s maternal grandfather and an ultranationalist within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), visited a Unification Church in Japan in April 1970. Afterward, Kishi reportedly proactively utilized the IFVOC in Japan to garner financial support and build consensus for anti-communist legislation such as the establishment of an anti-espionage act by the LDP in the 1970s.
Hiroshi Yamaguchi, the president of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales — a team of lawyers who have brought suits for damages against the Unification Church — and a lawyer who wrote the expose concerning the church titled “The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification,” pinpointed Kishi and Ryoichi Sasakawa, a former member of the House of Representatives and a Class A war criminal, as key figures who helped the church gain political influence within the LDP during an interview with CBS.
Yamaguchi also said, “The Unification Church’s political empowerment began during the time of Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, with Sasakawa acting as a bridge.” He further claimed that “North Korea policies and anti-communist movements under conservative administrations were carried out through the help of the Unification Church’s IFVOC, and as there are barely any young election campaigners or party members in Japan, Japanese politicians probably could not refuse funds and campaigners systematically sent by the Unification Church.”

Moon Sung-myung speaks at an event at the Capitol in Washington DC in April 2004, where he crowned himself as “king of peace.”
After releasing a chart depicting links between 128 Japanese lawmakers at the time and the IFVOC and the Unification Church in February 1999, the Japanese magazine Modern Weekly published an article criticizing Abe’s ties to the Unification Church, which the weekly described as “continuing since [Abe’s] grandfather’s generation.”
The Unification Church has also made similar claims. In an article published on July 20, 1986, the church’s bulletin asserted that “130 lawmakers elected in the House of Representatives and House of Councillors elections are proponents of victory over communism.” The church’s document compiling the sayings of its founder also contains a quotation in which Moon directly references his ties with Japanese political figures.

Moon Sun-myung, the founder of the Unification Church (Hankyoreh file photo)
The relationship between the Unification Church and Japanese political circles is being all the more highlighted due to the religious movement’s enormous success in Japan. The church had its start in the country after Choi Sang-ik, a missionary of the church, arrived in Japan as a stowaway in October 1959. Subsequently, the church’s mission in Japan gained much traction, laying the foundation for the religion’s foray into and eventual anchoring in the US.
The Unification Church in Japan has gathered funds mostly through door-to-door sales via the so-called “spiritual sales” method. At its height, the church in Japan would send 10 billion yen back to the church’s headquarters every month.
The method stipulates that Unification Church followers should purchase items with spiritual capabilities and make donations so that their ancestors in hell in the spiritual realm may be put out of their suffering and their descendants may live safe and peaceful lives. Experts in religious circles and elsewhere have analyzed the method as having successfully taken advantage of traditional rituals through which Japanese people worship their ancestors.
The Unification Church sold items they claimed had supernatural spiritual powers, such as seals, flower vases, replicas of Dabo Pagoda and Seokga Pagoda in Korea, wooden beads, and ginseng extract.
When victims of the Unification Church’s sales activities came forward in great numbers, lawyers in Japan formed the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales to investigate related cases and come up with relief measures.
Regarding this, the Unification Church stated that “door-to-door sales through the spiritual sales was mostly carried out during the 1980s and has not been done since the 1990s.”
There are wildly different conjectures regarding the number of Unification Church followers in Japan, from ones that speculate the figure to be around 600,000 to ones that say it only amounts to around 10,000 and 20,000. Still, considering that 90% of the names listed at the entrance of Cheonjeong Palace, the world headquarters of the religion located in Seorak hills of Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province, as donors who contributed to the construction of the building are Japanese, it’s undeniable that the vast majority of donations received by the church are made by Japanese individuals.
Plus, an overwhelming majority of women who marry Korean men through mass weddings by the Unification Church are Japanese. The fact that Junko Sakurada, a famous pop idol during the 1970s in Japan, married an ordinary Korean office worker as designated by Moon during a 1992 mass wedding at Jamsil Olympic Stadium, garnered interest.
Born in 1920 in Chongju, North Pyongan Province, Moon founded the Unification Church in 1951. Based on its success in Japan, the church sent missionaries to 194 countries across the world, even going so far as to hold a mass rally that drew over 300,000 participants in Washington, DC, in 1976, thanks to which Moon was selected as “Person of the Year” by Newsweek.

Moon Sun-myung embraces North Korean leader Kim Il-sung on Dec. 6, 1991, in Pyongyang. (Hankyoreh file photo)
After founding the IFVOC and leading anti-communist movements, Moon started the Washington Times in 1982, which served as a mouthpiece for far-right conservatives in US politics. Moon garnered international attention in 1990, when he met with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow in an exclusive meeting, and a year later, on Nov. 30, 1991, when he met with Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang.
Moon expanded his activities into fields other than religion and media as well, going into education via Sunhwa Arts Middle and High Schools, Kyung Bok Elementary School, Sunjung Middle and High Schools, Sun Moon University, and Cheongshim International Academy, and trying his hand in business endeavors through Ilhwa, Ilsung Construction, and Ilshin Stone.

The Unification Church’s Cheonjeong Palace, located in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province (Hankyoreh file photo)
In 2009, to mark the 90th birthday of Moon, the Unification Church unveiled Cheonjeong Palace, the church’s headquarters covering 4,000 acres of land located in Seorak Township, Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province, carrying out a “coronation for the realm of liberation for God, the King of Kings.” Members of the church venerated Moon with such titles as “King of Kings,” “Savior,” “Messiah,” “True Father” and more.

Han Hak-ja, current president of the Unification Church, blesses new couples at a mass wedding ceremony on April 16, 2022. (provided by the Unification Church)
Moon died on Sept. 3, 2012, at Cheongshim International Medical Center (now known as the HJM International Medical Center, located on Unification Church holy ground in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province.
In April 2008, he appointed his then 33-year-old son Moon Hyung-jin — also known as Sean Moon, the youngest son among his 13 children — to serve as international president of the FFWPU. However, Moon’s widow Han Hak-ja assumed full control after the founder’s death and has been acting as de facto leader of the Unification Church ever since.
By Cho Yeon-hyun, religion correspondent
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