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First Day of Court Hearings in Dissolution Case

Fukumoto and Okamura

Highly discriminatory dissolution case begins at Tokyo District Court 

Tokyo District Court convened 22nd February 2024 the first session of its hearings for the case brought by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology against the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly the Unification Church) requesting the court to issue an order to dissolve the religious organization.

Tomihiro Tanaka told about horrendous persecution
Tomihiro Tanaka, here at press conference in Tokyo 7th Nov. 2023. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission by the Family Federation of Japan.
Jiji Press logo
Logo of Jiji Press

Jiji Press reports 22nd February on nippon.com that Presiding Judge Kenya Suzuki (鈴木謙也) listened during the closed-door session to arguments presented by Tomihiro Tanaka (田中富広), the leader of the Japanese branch of the international organization, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which handles religious matters.

Tanaka asserted to the judge that contributions from adherents were allocated for missionary activities both domestically and internationally, emphasizing that soliciting donations was an integral aspect of religious practices, as stated by Nobuya Fukumoto (福本修也), a legal representative for the Family Federation.

The leader vehemently opposed the characterization by the culture ministry, which portrayed the religious organization as engaging in illicit asset accumulation. Additionally, he criticized Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s announcement of severing ties with the Family Federation and associated organizations, deeming it discriminatory based on ideological grounds and a violation of constitutional rights.

Japan Times about dissolution caseThe Japan Times reported 23rd February that the above-mentioned Tomihiro Tanaka during the hearing, disputed the ministry’s characterization of the religious organization, suggesting that the ministry’s perspective was flawed. In its defense, the Family Federation’s representatives argued that the credibility of ministry interviewees should be treated with caution as they were introduced by a group of lawyers associated with assisting what they call “victims of the religious organization”.

Japan News about dissolution caseThe Japan News published by the large national daily Yomiuri Shimbun questions in an editorial 23rd February the closed-door nature of the hearings,

“In accordance with a relevant law, the hearing was held behind closed doors. Although the government has not disclosed what opinions it expressed, this is an important trial for freedom of religion. The progress of the trial and the evidence presented should be made public.”

Masahito Moriyama in dissolution case
Masahito Moriyama, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Photo (2023): 首相官邸ホームページ. License: CC Attr 4.0 Int. Cropped

Kyodo News about dissolution caseThe Kyodo News report published by the Japan Times point out that the case has been further complicated by government minister Masahito Moriyama from the department that requested the dissolution order, acknowledging in early February his endorsement ahead of the general election in October 2021 of the policies of Federation for World Peace (FWP), an organization associated with the Family Federation. More about this.

The Japan News writes that in the parliament, opposition parties are intensifying their scrutiny of Masahito Moriyama, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, regarding allegations of receiving support from the same organization (FWP).

It is alleged that Moriyama participated in a policy briefing session organized by the organization (FWP), received a letter of endorsement, and signed a document affirming the group’s endorsement of his candidacy, effectively constituting a policy agreement. Asahi Shimbun writes that Moriyama still receives the newsletter of the organization at his office.

Moriyama’s responses in the Diet have been deemed unsatisfactory. His statements have been inconsistent, ranging from “I do not recall” to “I may have signed it,” and then reverting to “I do not remember,” creating the impression of dishonesty. See also Unfunny Comedy of Ministers Lacking Integrity

According to the Japan News report, some members of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) speculate that the organization associated with the Family Federation is divulging information to the press as a retaliatory measure against the request for an order to dissolve the religious organization. This speculation stems from the emergence of internal information, such as photographs depicting Masahito Moriyama alongside leaders of the group and testimonies suggesting Moriyama’s involvement with individuals connected to the group.

At the end of last year, a leaked photo depicted another individual linked to the Family Federation attending a meeting between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during Kishida’s tenure as the chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council. It is highly probable that someone associated with the group took the photograph.

The article in Japan News even claims that dissemination of such information may well create political turmoil, and that might be exactly “what the sources want”.

It might be of interest to the discerning reader that Chinese media outlets like Xinhua and china.org also wrote about the first day of hearings in Tokyo District Court.

Featured image above: Representing Family Federation in Tokyo District Court: Nobuya Fukumoto (left) and Nobuo Okamura. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission by FFWPU Japan 8th Sep. 2023.

“First Day of Court Hearings in Dissolution Case” – text: Knut Holdhus

More about dissolution case: Maverick Minister Lets “3 Foxes in the Henhouse”

Still more about dissolution case: Opposition Inciting Regime to Excessive Steps

Yet more about dissolution case: Kishida’s Self-Defeating Populist Decisions

Even more about dissolution case: Journalist Reveals Ugly Leftwing Conspiracy

And still more about dissolution case: Militant Lawyers Dictate Government Policy

And yet more about dissolution case: Lawyer Exposes Dirty Leftwing Plot

And even more about dissolution case: Inhuman Government-Supported Mass Deprogramming

More about dissolution case: Collusion to Rob Minority of Its Rights

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