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Science course taught by Unification Church-related group at Osaka school axed

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OSAKA -- A steering committee for holiday courses for children at a municipal elementary school in Minoh, Osaka Prefecture, has decided to cancel a science experiment course, after discovering that a group affiliated with the Unification Church had been holding it.

    The Minoh Municipal Board of Education explained to the Mainichi Shimbun on Aug. 16, "Issues surrounding the Unification Church are being highlighted, and it is not good to continue a course being offered by an organization that children and their parents feel uneasy about."

    According to the education board, the elementary school holds about 12 courses a year for children to spend their holidays in collaboration with several volunteer groups. Since the 2005 academic year, the group in question had offered a science experiment course that included making candy and slime.

    In August 2021, a post on social media claimed that the group's members might be students belonging to CARP, a student organization associated with the Unification Church, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. The education board investigated and reportedly found that the student organization's website had posted a photo of the course.

    The group had applied to the steering committee, which is made up of school and community members, under an individual's name, and the committee was reportedly unaware that the group was affiliated with the Unification Church until it was pointed out. No cases of children being encouraged to join groups associated with the religious organization have been confirmed.

    All holiday courses at the elementary school have remained suspended for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The steering committee will not resume the science experiment course and plans to cancel it.

    The Unification Church told the Mainichi Shimbun the student group in question is "a friendship group, but we are not aware of its activities."

    (Japanese original by Sachiko Miyakawa, Osaka City News Department)

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