Ex-Unification Church plans to entrust 10 bil. yen to govt. for victims' relief

NHK has learned that the religious group widely known as the Unification Church plans to ask the Japanese government to make necessary arrangements so that the group can entrust a fund to it.

Sources familiar with the group say it hopes the money will be used if the need arises to compensate people who say they or their relatives fell victim to donation collection tactics or other practices by the group. The sources say the group plans to commit up to 10 billion yen, or about 67 million dollars, to the government for the purpose.

Diet lawmakers are discussing how to preserve the group's assets to provide relief to victims. They are concerned that the group could transfer its assets abroad or move them to other entities before a court orders it should lose its religious corporation status.

The order would deprive the group of its tax-exempt status but would still allow it to conduct religious activities.

The education and culture ministry requested the order last month. Its minister, Moriyama Masahito, said the group's practices violated civil law, and caused significant damage.

The group told NHK that it does not admit it has caused damage to the extent of the amount of funds it plans to commit to the government. It said the group has accepted requests made by former followers and others for consultations on donation repayments.

The group said it plans to entrust the fund to properly deal with compensation requests if the court order comes out. The group added that it will announce its plan in the near future.