Yoshifumi Miyajima is aware of full properly he would by no means have received a seat in the 2016 Upper House election with out organizational assist from a gaggle related to the Unification Church, which he felt positioned him beneath some obligation to repay the debt in small methods.
But not like previous or current lawmakers, Miyajima, alongside along with his marketing campaign advisers, has chosen to acknowledge the crucial role performed by the group in his short-lived political profession.
Miyajima, 71, served one time period in the Upper House, winning a seat by the proportional illustration phase of the 2016 election.
The difficulty is of immense public curiosity in gentle of the July 8 slaying of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe whereas he was giving a marketing campaign speech in Nara forward of the most recent Upper House election held two days later.
Even Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has exhorted his Cabinet ministers to “examine and properly review” their ties to the Unification Church.
The alleged gunman, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, advised police he bore a grudge towards the spiritual group resulting from hardships he endured as a toddler after his mom made big donations to the church. Yamagami additionally felt Abe had shut ties to the group.
Miyajima and high-ranking marketing campaign officers spoke with Asahi Shimbun reporters on quite a lot of events after Abe was shot, an all however unthinkable occasion in modern-day Japan.
Since 2012, Miyajima has served as president of the Japanese Association of Medical Technologists. Based on that have alone, he doubted he might marshal sufficient votes through members and associated organizations to win an Upper House seat.
Miyajima was approached in 2015 by Chuichi Date, then a high-ranking official in the Upper House caucus of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, about working in the election the next 12 months.
Shortly earlier than the official begin of campaigning, Date knowledgeable Miyajima that votes had been obtained from a corporation that supported the LDP. Miyajima stated he was advised the group’s identify was the Federation for World Peace (FWP). For his half, Date refused to reply to questions from the Asahi about his role in the 2016 election or the group.
Miyajima’s aides advised him the group was linked to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, now the formal identify of the Unification Church.
While Miyajima harbored doubts about accepting assist from a gaggle carefully linked to a corporation that had been in the general public eye over unsavory enterprise practices, his marketing campaign employees advised him he couldn’t again out now since celebration higher-ups had gone to a lot hassle to make sure he acquired the required assist.
Miyajima met with group executives on the behest of Date. But solely a small variety of marketing campaign employees knew in regards to the “top secret” ties with the FWP. Campaign advisers additionally advised Miyajima to not discuss publicly in regards to the assist.
During the Upper House marketing campaign, Miyajima gave speeches across the nation and made some extent of stopping at Unification Church amenities to talk with small gatherings of members to ask for his or her assist. In whole, he attended a dozen or so such conferences.
According to Miyajima’s marketing campaign employees, the FWP additionally offered volunteers to assist with the mailing of tens of hundreds of postcards in assist of Miyajima in addition to the distribution of fliers.
Miyajima garnered round 122,000 votes in the election.
“I believe the church accounted for between 60,000 and 70,000 votes so I was honestly very impressed by the influence of the church,” stated a high-ranking marketing campaign official.
While amenities had been made out there to the FWP throughout the marketing campaign, the church itself by no means offered direct assist to Miyajima, an official with the Unification Church stated.
“We did provide support during the campaign because Miyajima’s policies matched our principles,” an FWP official stated.
Miyajima stated he by no means grew to become a member of the church or the group and that his solely affiliation with the teams was throughout the election.
But after the 2016 election, Miyajima attended varied conferences organized by the FWP to precise gratitude for the assist he obtained.
Miyajima and an aide additionally attended a “study session” later in 2016 paid for by the FWP at which he realized in regards to the historical past of the Unification Church in Japan. A video of Abe was additionally proven and Miyajima was advised that Abe “understood” the group’s anti-communist stance.
In May 2017, Miyajima attended a Unification Church occasion held in Tokyo and met privately with Hak Ja Han, the widow of church founder Sun Myung Moon and now head of the church.
Miyajima determined to not search re-election in this 12 months’s Upper House ballot after Abe knowledgeable him that he couldn’t depend on the assist he obtained six years in the past from the FWP.
Miyajima stated he was nonetheless grateful for the assist obtained from the FWP.
However, he cautioned that motion must be taken if the church was nonetheless demanding giant donations from members in addition to offering help to victims.