Several Japanese groups are urging former President George Bush to cancel a speech in Tokyo next week sponsored by an organization linked to the Unification Church.
Bush and his wife, Barbara, are scheduled to appear at a Sept. 14 “Global Family Festival” organized by the Women’s Federation for World Peace. The federation is led by Hak Ja Han Moon, who is married to the leader of the Unification church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
The United Church of Christ in Japan, a prominent mainstream Christian group, wrote Bush last week, urging him not to attend. So did a group of 300 lawyers representing people suing the church. A group of people whose children were recruited into the church also criticized the trip.
Hiroshi Yamaguchi, leader of the lawyers’ group, said Monday that Bush’s presence would lend legitimacy to the church, which has been accused of devious recruitment tactics and of brainwashing its members.