At least 20 Japanese lawmakers appointed as deputies for Cabinet members confirmed Friday that they had links to a controversial religious group after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a self-check and review to appease a wary public.

The revelations add to evidence of what could be a deeply ingrained network of contact between ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers and the Unification Church. Seven newly appointed ministers have also acknowledged varying degrees of ties to the group, which has come under renewed scrutiny since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The religious group, known formally as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, was founded by a staunch anti-communist and is known for its mass weddings. It has drawn scrutiny over "spiritual sales," in which people are talked into buying jars and other items for exorbitant prices.