Ex-Unification Church head in Japan to explain funds to be entrusted to govt.

The head of the Japan branch of the religious group widely known as the Unification Church plans to attend a news conference on Tuesday to explain the funds it intends to entrust to the Japanese government.

The group will reportedly commit up to 10 billion yen, or about 67 million dollars, to the government to compensate if necessary those who say they or their relatives fell victim to donation collection tactics or other practices by the group.

Sources familiar with the group say branch head Tanaka Tomihiro also plans to ask the government to set up a system for the move.

The group told NHK that it does not admit it has caused damage equivalent to the amount of the funds.

The group also says it has accepted requests made by former followers and others for consultations on donation repayments, and that it will continue handling the issue in an appropriate way.

The group says it will explain its compensation to former members and others as well as the progress of reforms aimed at preventing large donations.

In October, Japan's education and culture ministry requested a court order for the removal of the group's religious corporation status.

Lawmakers are discussing how to secure the group's assets to provide relief to victims. They say the assets may be moved abroad or to other entities before the court approves the request.

If the order is issued, the group would lose its tax benefits but would still be able to conduct religious activities.

The news conference will be the first for Tanaka since the education and culture ministry made the request.