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What happens when an assassin wins?

Shinzo Abe was murdered almost two years ago, and Japanese politics still isn't the same.

I want to show you a really important intersection in modern Japanese politics. Here it is, outside Yamato Saidaiji station, in Nara. Why is it so important? Well, take a look…can’t tell? Well, that’s because of the bus, but it’s also sort of the point.

Because this is where two years ago Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-ever-serving Prime Minister was shot and killed with a homemade shotgun—literally two pipes duct-taped to a piece of wood—in Japan’s first political assassination since the 1960s. Yet you wouldn’t know it, because the assassin got away with it. And I don’t mean he wasn’t caught.

He was standing right there, and he was apprehended pretty much instantly. I mean that Japan basically agreed with his reason for murdering Abe, which is why there’s essentially nothing here to commemorate his death.

So what was the killer’s argument? Well, I’d like to show you a building not far from here that explains a lot.

Take a good look. It’s just some kind of office building, right? Well, like the nondescript intersection, in this story not all is as it seems. Because, it’s actually a church, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, because, well it doesn’t look like one. But also because…it isn’t a church.

Yeah…it’s a bit complicated. But it cuts straight to the heart of this mysteriously empty intersection. And this book, this book explains everything.

This is The Divine Principle, a retelling of the Christian Bible and the core scripture of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unity. Strange name, but who could argue with family, peace, and unity? Well, let’s take a look inside this book and see if that’s really what it’s really all about.

Here, Genesis is actually about Eve cheating on Adam with Satan, and Jesus is essentially an incel loser who didn’t get married like God wanted.

It also declares the divinity of its author, Sun Myung Moon, the man born to do what Jesus couldn’t: score some chicks and save humanity. Yes, it is time for the South Park Scientology disclaimer.

But Moon’s Christianity fanfic isn’t just obsessed with sex. It also has a lot to say about Japan…and money.

You see, Moon was Korean and grew up under the brutal yoke of Japanese imperial occupation, something he claimed was the modern manifestation of Eve’s original sin of betrayal against Adam. Therefore, reparations to Korea—via his church, conveniently—were necessary spiritual rebalancing. And now we’ve gotten to the really essential bit.

Because Moon’s church isn’t some two-bit po-dunk backyard bible study. These are just a handful of the Church’s locations in Japan, never mind their outposts all over the world or their massive headquarters in New York City, or their nationally distributed and shockingly influential newspaper, the Washington Times.

And it’s not just stuff, either. As the Times suggests, the church has paid keen attention to political investments. Over the years, it’s developed tight relationships with politicians all over the world but especially with Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, donating money and organizing volunteers in exchange for political protection. Among those friends? Shinzo Abe.

Why all the investment in Japan? Because Japan is the church’s cash cow, and its fundraising habits aren’t exactly…kosher. Between 1987 and 2021, about 30,000 Japanese victims donated almost a billion dollars to the Church,[1] and the usual tactic involved targeting older Japanese citizens, hounding and shaming them over Japan’s (very real) abuse of the Korean people, guilting them into contributions which ranged from minor donations to devastating depletions of entire life-savings. One such victim: the assassin’s mother.

Are the threads beginning to make sense now? The empty intersection. The lavish “churches.” The bizarre scripture. The political connections. It’s all connected.

When Tetsuya Yamagami, Abe’s killer, was asked why he did it, he said it wasn’t about Abe’s politics or his ideology. He said it was personal. He did it for his mother, who’d fallen prey to a vicious scam cult and lost everything, for his brother who, stricken with cancer and unable to pay his medical bills, had killed himself. And he chose Abe, because Abe befriended those vultures.

And now, an empty intersection, because Abe isn’t remembered as a martyr, or a hero, or even as a victim. To many Japanese, he merely got his comeuppance.

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Now, back to this intersection.

If you’re looking for an endorsement or glorification of political violence of this kind, you’ve come to the wrong place. If, however, you want to understand this event and how it’s shaken Japan’s politics to their core, well then two visuals help explain that. This shows which party has been in charge of Japan every year since it became a democracy in 1946 (chart since 1960*).[2] Notice something? Yeah, that’s the Liberal Democratic Party or LDP, Abe’s party. If you were gonna make a prediction about the future of Japanese politics from this, well it’s obvious what it would be.

This, on the other hand, shows approval for the LDP one month before and after Abe’s death. Make a prediction from this, and it’s probably quite different.[3]

This public anger, arising from sympathy for Yamagami’s perspective, was enough to send the LDP Prime Minister and Abe’s successor, Fumio Kishida, scrambling. It was clear that ties to the Church were politically ruinous.

Kishida’s first move was to survey all LDP members of parliament for ties to the church. To his horror, over half of them had ties like Abe’s, including several members of Kishida’s cabinet. Immediately, Kishida booted the church-affiliated members from his cabinet and promised to break ties with the church.

But even that wasn’t enough to rescue the LDP’s reputation. The publication of the survey merely cemented in the public’s mind the connection between the LDP and this scam religion.[4]

Despite going further by targeting the church with a ban on “malicious” donation-collection tactics, that devastating public opinion chart got even worse, diving to a rock-bottom 17% by (the end of*) 2023.

With no other cards to play, Kishida’s government recently opted for the nuclear option, filing a legal suit, requesting a court formally dissolve the Church as a religious organization. It’s unclear if it will really materialize, but maybe just the gesture will finally be enough. Despite their catastrophically low approval, the LDP still beats opposition parties in the polls, in part because they’ve been in power so long that no one really believes anyone else can do the job.[5]

Yamagami was indicted in January of 2023. In a purely legal sense, he didn’t get away with his shocking crime, nor should he have. But in public opinion, he’s been vindicated beyond his wildest imagination. The LDP has ruled Japan for the last 70 years almost uninterrupted*. And its scummy ties to the scammy Unification Church are just one sign of the kind of political, moral, and, indeed, spiritual rot that can take hold when one party* dominates a nation’s politics. Scams and cults are a fact of society, yet they sure do thrive on corruption and complacency. Yamagami’s action may have drawn attention to the issue for many Japanese, but he’s done nothing to fix the problem. That will take real political competition in Japan. Without it, we can expect nothing more than abuse of power, tragedy, and, ultimately, violent vengeance.

Unless cited otherwise, all claims made reference our previous video on this subject and its antecedent citations:

  1. Asahi Shinbun, ↩︎
  2. Wikipedia, ↩︎
  3. Statista, ↩︎
  4. Reuters, ↩︎
  5. Mainichi, ↩︎


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