Japan's ruling parties submit bill to Diet supporting religious group victims

Japan's ruling coalition parties, along with an opposition party, have jointly submitted to the Diet a bill aimed at bolstering support for people who have been victimized by a religious group formerly known as the Unification Church.

The group has been accused of soliciting significant donations from its followers. The government sought a court order last month to strip the group of its legal status as a religious corporation.

The governing Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, along with the Democratic Party for the People, submitted the bill on Tuesday.

The governing parties approved the relief bill, compiled by their working group, at a meeting involving their policy chiefs and other officials.
The bill would expand the scope of the Japan Legal Support Center's operations to allow alleged victims to receive support for their civil lawsuits, regardless of their income or other conditions.

The legislation would also allow authorities to monitor the assets of groups against which the government has filed court orders for dissolution as religious corporations. Such groups would be obliged to inform administrative bodies before disposing of their properties. They would also be required to submit lists of their assets to administrative offices every three months.

The bill would be effective for three years, but a possible extension would be considered depending on the situation.

LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Hagiuda Koichi said the bill was compiled to address the deficiencies in the current system, focusing on effectiveness and speed.

Komeito's Policy Research Council Chair Takagi Yousuke said the bill encompasses wide areas and that he hopes for a swift passage of the bill to aid the victims.