Japan’s New Law Against Religious Donations

March 15, 2024

Japan's parliament on Saturday approved law that bans religious and other organizations from maliciously soliciting donations. This move by the ruling party is to defuse the controversy over it sties to the unification of the church, after the assassination of its Prime Minister, Shinso Abe. Tetsuya Yamagami, the only suspect in Abe’s 8 July shooting told the investigators that he targeted the politician because of his connections to the church, after his mother contributed huge donations to the church which he left the family bankrupt.

The legislation is intended to prevent Japan’s controversial Unification Church, or the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, from using emotional manipulation to garner donations. The former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abewas assassinated during an election rally by a man who held a grudge against the church.

Many Unification Church followers claim they were forced to join, left in poverty, or neglected because of their parents' devotion to the group. Believers, other donors and their families will now be able to seek the return of donations when organizations play on their fears or link their cash to spiritual salvation. Organizations will also be banned from asking donors to borrow money or sell real estate and other assets.

Although the law doesn't name the Unification Church, its passing follows public pressure after Abe's assassination, which lifted the lid on the group's practices.

However, the National network of lawyers against Spiritual sales argue that the new legislation is inadequate as it doesn't enforce donation limits or offer protection to children of followers or those believed to be brainwashed into making large donations also address the harms of the Unification Church. The group noted that the bill does not prohibit donations to individual Church members, and individuals may continue to solicit donations illegally if the Church loses its legal status. The organization also believes the government must restrict and regulate the Unification Church’s missionary activities.

Japan’s parliament on Saturday enacted a law to restrict malicious donation solicitations by religious and other groups, which mainly targets the Unification Church, whose fundraising tactics and cozy ties with the governing party caused public outrage.

The new law, approved at this year’s closing parliamentary session, allows believers, other donors and their families to seek the return of their money and prohibits religious groups and other organizations from soliciting funds by coercion, threats or linking donations to spiritual salvation.

Sign Up For News Updates / Enquiries and Registrations

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Sign Up For News Updates/Enquiries and Registrations
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.