Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that he has instructed the education ministry to investigate the Unification Church over its problematic “spiritual sales” tactics, which could pave the way for the group to be stripped of its "religious corporation" status.

It is the first time the government will exercise its authority to investigate a religious group based on the Religious Corporation Law, which allows the government to investigate religious organizations suspected of wrongdoing.

“We will deal with the religious group deemed to be problematic in a strict manner, including under the Religious Corporation Law,” Kishida told a Lower House Budget Committee session.