Lawyers: Ex-Unification Church got mil. of dollars despite 'stricter compliance'

An association of lawyers in Japan says the religious group formerly known as the Unification Church received donations worth millions of dollars even after it says it stepped up compliance measures.

The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, which provides support to former followers of the group, held a meeting in Tokyo on Friday. About 100 people attended.

The lawyers looked into lawsuits filed by former followers with the help of other lawyers across the country.

They say they found that there were more than 60 cases in which people were coerced into making donations since 2009, when the group says it tightened compliance measures.

The lawyers say a total of 790 million yen, or about 5.5 million dollars, was donated, including the amount paid by people currently in trial.

Lawyer Kawai Yasuo says this shows that the religious group continued to cause trouble even after it declared that it had enhanced its compliance measures.

The lawyers adopted a statement demanding that when the group recruits new members, its reasons for recruitment and its purpose be clarified.

The statement also urges the government to take legislative measures aimed at ordering such groups to disband, and at providing relief to victims.

The religious group, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, told NHK that despite continued efforts, there have been several troubles.

It added, however, that many cases have been settled.