Despite its left-wing-sounding name, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party is conservative, and many high-ranking members have ties to the right-wing cultish Unification Church (aka "Moonies") founded in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012).
The man accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July said he shot Abe because his mother (a Moonie) was bankrupted after she was coerced into to donating large sums of money to the church.
The Unification Church's right-wing political influence has been compared to the rise of Donald Trump and the alt-right in the United States, as they are both based on anti-communism and extreme nationalism. The Unification Church owns the far-right paper The Washington Times, which runs articles like "Pelosi drums bogus COVID fear to extend remote voting," and "Leftist attack on Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban."
In response to rising public outcry against the Unification Church's influence in Japan's politics, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has moved at least seven parliament members out of his cabinet.
[A] dozen or so politicians from the conservative LDP have disclosed links to the church or affiliated organisations – such as speaking at events – highlighting a relationship with the fiercely anti-communist church that stretches back to the Cold War. read more
"We need to respect freedom of religion but it's only natural that these groups need to obey laws and be dealt with if they veer from them," Kishida told a news conference, adding he did not believe he had any connection with the church.
"I don't think the Unification Church's policies have unjustly influenced party policies," he said.
And if you believe that, I've got a hashi in the Chiyoda ward to sell you.