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Religious Juridical Persons and Administration of Religious Affairs

The Agency engages in proper management of the system of religious juridical persons, by certifying of religious juridical persons based on the Religious Juridical Persons Act and collecting information on religions.
In addition, the Religious Juridical Persons Council was established as an advisory organ of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

What is a Religious Juridical Person?

"Religious organization" means any organization whose primary purposes consists of the dissemination of religious teachings, the conduct of ceremonies and functions, and the education and nurture of believers. A religious juridical person means a religious organization that obtains juridical status through certification by a prefectural governor or the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Religious juridical persons have two categories. One is a single religious juridical person that has establishments for worship such as a shrine, temple, or church. The other is a comprehensive religious juridical person, which affiliates shrines, temples, or churches under its umbrella, such as a denomination, sect, or religious community. Among the single religious juridical persons, those under the umbrella of a comprehensive religious juridical person are called affiliated religious juridical persons. Those that are independent are called individual religious juridical persons.

Relationship Diagram of Religious Juridical Persons

Number of Religious Juridical Persons

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(As of December 31, 2020)

Jurisdiction Religion Comprehensive religious juridical persons Single religious juridical persons Individual religious juridical persons Subtotal Total
Affiliated religious juridical persons
Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the jurisdiction of a prefectural governor Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the comprehensive religious organization (not juridical person)
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shinto 123 20 1 68 89 212
Buddhism 156 176 4 147 327 483
Christianity 66 41 1 220 262 328
Others 26 35 63 98 124
Total 371 272 0 6 498 776 1,147
Prefectural governors Shinto 6 82,105 138 109 2,003 84,355 84,361
Buddhism 12 73,692 67 165 2,636 76,560 76,572
Christianity 7 2,760 30 27 1,668 4,485 4,492
Others 1 13,578 8 385 13,971 13,972
Total 26 172,135 235 309 6,692 179,371 179,397
Total 397 172,407 235 315 7,190 180,147 180,544

In principle, the authority responsible for religious juridical persons is the prefectural governor having jurisdiction over the location of its principal office.
The competent authority for the following religious juridical persons is the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: a religious juridical person which has a house of worship in another prefecture;  which encompasses such religious corporation; which encompasses a religious corporation that is located in another prefecture.
When a religious juridical person opens or closes a precinct building in another prefecture, the competent authority changes.

Promotion of the Administration of Religious Affairs

The Agency for Cultural Affairs carries out the following tasks to properly manage the religious juridical person system and ensure appropriate management and operation of religious juridical persons.

Program Description
Tasks related to implementation of the Religious Juridical Persons Act Certification of incorporation, alteration of the articles of incorporation, merger and voluntary dissolution of religious juridical persons
Guidance on the management and operation of religious juridical persons Guidance and advice to the prefectural administration for religious affairs.
Holding lectures for administrative officers in charge of religious affairs at the prefectural level.
Running practical seminars for religious juridical persons and producing manuals for them.
Collection and provision of religion-related resources Collection, development, and provision of religion-related statistics including Shukyo Nenkan (Religious Yearbook) and Shumu Jiho (News on Religious Affairs). Research on situations around religions
Religious Juridical Persons Council The Religious Juridical Persons Council discusses adverse disposition against a religious juridical person, and studies and discusses certification and related matters

Contact

Religious Affairs Division

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