Doubling down on earlier assertions, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated Wednesday that he has no personal ties to the Unification Church after a weekly magazine claimed that the head of his support group in Kumamoto Prefecture had links to the controversial religious organization.

In response to questioning from reporters during a video news conference, Kishida said, “To repeat, as far as I am aware, I have no ties to the Unification Church, and there is no change in my stance in that regard."

The Kishida administration is currently beset by issues related to the Unification Church. In what represents a politically awkward development for the prime minister, the Tokyo-based weekly news magazine Shukan Bunshun reported on Tuesday that an associate of Kishida named Mineo Nakayama has ties to the religious group.