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Japan defense chief Kishi may be replaced in Cabinet due to Unification Church links

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may replace Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, who had received help from members of a religious group at the heart of attention since the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a Cabinet revamp to boost flagging public support, sources close to the matter say.
The prime minister, who heads the LDP, said Saturday he will instruct all Cabinet ministers, both incumbent and prospective, to check and clarify links to the Unification Church.
The remark came amid increasing public scrutiny over the relationship between lawmakers and the Unification Church, after Abe was fatally shot by a man who investigative sources say held a grudge against the religious group and believed Abe had ties with it.
Kishi, a brother of Abe, has denied receiving organizational support from the Unification Church, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. But he admitted that he received help in past elections. He has expressed his intention to review his relationship with the group.
Followers of the Unification Church have been arrested in Japan and received court orders in connection with money illegally obtained from people through the use of threats, including the citing of "ancestral karma." Over 80 percent of respondents in a recent Kyodo News poll said politicians need to clarify whether they have connections with the group.


© KYODO
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