The government sought a court order on Friday to strip the Unification Church of its religious corporation status — a move described as tantamount to a death sentence for the church.

The development comes amid controversy surrounding the church's questionable methods to solicit donations, which drew scrutiny following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also casting a spotlight on the group’s ties with the late politician and the Liberal Democratic Party.

The request to revoke the church's status has been submitted to the Tokyo District Court, which will consider arguments from both the education ministry and the Unification Church before making a decision.