The former chairman of the Unification Church said Tuesday that its founder had a close relationship with both the grandfather and the father of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, amid growing public scrutiny of the church over the murder of Abe and his assailant's grudge against the religious group.

Kwak Chung-hwan held a news conference in Seoul, following media reports about the motives of the assailant, who has told police that his mother's donations to the church ruined his family's finances and that he believed Abe's grandfather had invited the church to Japan from South Korea.

Responding to a question about the relationship of the religious group and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kwak said, “President Sun Myung Moon (of the church) was close to former Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi,” Abe’s grandfather.