World Politics

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The ties between Abe and the group were not superficial. In 2005 and 2006, while a lawmaker, Abe sent congratulatory messages to events co-hosted by the Universal Peace Federation which has strong ties to the Unification Church.

According to materials from the National Network and public documents, in 2010 and 2012, Abe attended meetings of the Institute for Global Strategy, another allegedly church-affiliated organization. In 2011, he and other conservatives put out a one page opinion ad in the Washington Times denying Japanese war crimes. In 2013, under Abe, despite opposition within the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the organization was allowed to change its name—thus obscuring its problematic past. In 2016, Abe invited the chairman of the Japan branch of the Unification Church to the prime minister’s residence. In September of 2021, Abe sent a video message to an event organized by the Universal Peace Federation. He praised the church’s leaders and its “family values.” But Abe wasn’t alone, Donald Trump, Abe’s golf buddy and ideological pal, also sent a video praising the church’s leaders.

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