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Forcibly Medicated to Break His Faith

Human rights violations: forcible de-convertion

Faith-breakers fooled parents to have son forcibly medicated in psychiatric hospital to de-convert him

Hideo Mima forcibly medicated
Hideo Mima. Photo: Private

Hideo Mima (美馬秀夫), member of the Family Federation and local politician in Japan, described the ordeal he suffered when he was kidnapped, forcibly detained at a psychiatric hospital and injected with medication in an attempt to have him abandon his faith. He told his story at a conference in Osaka Central Public Hall 1st December 2023, organised by UPF Osaka.

My name is Hideo Mima. I am a member of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

In April this year I was elected to the Tokushima (徳島) City Council for my seventh term.

I would like to tell you about an incident where I was confined in the Kurumegaoka Hospital (久留米ヶ丘病院) [in Tokyo] in order to be forcibly de-converted. It happened in my younger years and lasted 87 days from 7th December 1979 to 4th March 1980.

I was born in 1949 and am currently 74 years old. I graduated from Osako Elementary School, Jyosei Junior High School, and Tokushima Prefectural Jonan High School. Then I went on to graduate from the Faculty of Business and Commerce at Keio University (慶應義塾大学) [in Tokyo]. At the age of 23, I entered the path of faith.

Afterwards, despite my parents’ opposition and some objections, I returned to my hometown of Tokushima (徳島) and got a job at the age of 27. Then, on 7th December 1979, when a neighbourhood friend of my mother had invited me over for dinner, my mother appeared, followed by my father and younger brother. My father restrained me with handcuffs he had bought in the USA. I lost consciousness after being injected with an anesthetic. My younger brother was a neurosurgeon, so it turned out that way.

I was in such a situation in Tokushima, and before I knew it, I was in a car on the Chuo Expressway (中央道). I arrived at Kurumegaoka Hospital in Higashikurume (東京都東久留米市), Tokyo. Dr. Yoshie Ochi (越智芳江) was the director of the hospital.

Psychiatric hospital
Illustration of the ward where Hideo Mima was forcibly hospitalized. Photo: Hideo Mima

As you can see in this photo, I was admitted to a psychiatric ward with iron bars, where I was forced to take injections and medication such as tranquilizers every day. The doctor and lawyer even checked that I was taking the medication and looked if there was any medicine left in my mouth afterwards. When I was admitted, three other people had already been forcibly hospitalized. You cannot be discharged from a psychiatric hospital without the permission of its head. Even now I recall that I was thinking at the time that I would probably spend the rest of my life in that hospital.

Tomigoro Goto
Tomigoro Goto (後藤富五郎) (aka Tomisaburo Goto – 後藤富三郎). Photo: Kazuhiro Yonemoto

The series of confinement and forced de-conversion cases involved Tomigoro Goto (後藤富五郎) (aka Tomisaburo Goto – 後藤富三郎), chairman of what they called “Nationwide Principles Victims Rehabilitation Association” (全国原理被害者更生会) and ringleader of a group of people who opposed the church at the time. He would appear at the hospital and sometimes yell insults at me to have me abandon my faith.

Then, in February 1980, through a lawyer the church filed a claim with the court for a writ of habeas corpus [legal writ that orders those holding a detainee to bring him before a court].

As mentioned earlier, religious freedom and habeas corpus protection [fundamental right that protects against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment] are the most important things for human beings, so the trial was held immediately. On 4th March 1980, the Tokyo High Court ruled on the request for a writ of habeas corpus, and the church won the case. There were two other defendants in addition to me, and the hospital director was ordered to pay compensation.

Facsimile from Mainichi Shimbun 5th May 1980
Facsimile from the Mainichi Shimbun 5th May 1980, featuring photo of a younger Hideo Mima. Photo: Hideo Mima
Logo Minichi Shimbun
Logo of the Mainichi Shimbun. Public domain image

The day after, 5th March 1980, The Mainichi Shimbun [major national newspaper] reported extensively on the Tokyo High Court’s ruling using headlines like “Forced hospitalization of son who joined the Unification Church”, “No mental disorder”, “The parents must release him!” The Sekai Nippo [daily in the Tokyo area] on the same day carried an article titled “Terror of Today’s Thought Modification”.

After being released from the psychiatric ward, where I had been medicated and injected with drugs, I noticed some changes in my body and was in a weakened state. Therefore, I was hospitalized at the Isshin Hospital in Tokyo for about a week to recover my physical health.

Effects of medication
Aftereffects of headaches and hand tremors which Hideo Mima suffered after being forcibly hospitalized and medicated. Illustration: Hideo Mima

I used to participate in throwing events in track and field athletics, so I was confident about my health. But I couldn’t beat medications and injections. As a result, I suffered considerable aftereffects such as hand tremors, headaches, and vomiting.

For a long time after that, it was very difficult to deal with my parents as they were both perpetrators and victims. However, we gradually came to understand each other. During that time, when my parents felt at ease, they would sometimes complain about how they had been forced to pay a lot of money to those involved in the forced de-conversion. (I didn’t feel like asking for details, but got the impression that it wasn’t just for the hospital expenses.)

In fact, with the help of a representative of the former Socialist Party, we could ask questions about this to a parliamentary committee. A lot of things happened because of that.

After the Tokyo High Court ruled in our favour, the practice of confinement and forced de-conversion in psychiatric hospitals has declined and disappeared. However, the practice of abduction, confinement and forced apostasy in homes, flats and condominiums has continued. It has been left unchecked to the present day under the guise of civil non-intervention.

Toru Goto in 2022.
Toru Goto, member of the Family Federation, forcibly detained for incredible 12 years and 5 months to break his faith. Photo (2020): Graeme Carmichael

It is heartbreaking to think that about 4,000 young persons who share my faith had to experience the pain of abduction and confinement until the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Toru Goto (後藤徹) [in 2014].

Therefore, I would like to ask all reasonable people to shed light on the reality of the long-overlooked cruel religious persecution involving “abduction, confinement, and forced renunciation of faith”. Although the media is not present today, I would like them to understand this situation.

Let me introduce myself. As you can see here (pointing to slide), I am currently serving my seventh term as a member of the Tokushima City Council. I am also the representative director of my own company and served as the vice chairman of the Tokushima Chamber of Commerce and Industry for three years since 2004. In 2006, I also served as the 75th vice chairman of the Tokushima City Council. I am a member of the Unification Church (now called the Family Federation), but I am also the general representative of a local shrine and the vice chairman of the Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi) in Tokushima Prefecture. That’s my position.

In fact, I was told by a friend and acquaintance, “You don’t get our votes, but your wife does. It’s thanks to her that you’re elected.”

By the way, my wife is my partner from a Unification Church mass wedding. Therefore, I believe that we must create a society where human rights, human freedom, and freedom of faith are protected so that the problem of abduction and confinement does not occur.

Therefore, I hope that everyone will continue to understand this in the future. Thank you very much for listening today.

Featured image above: Illustration of Hideo Mima’s forced hospitalization. Photo: Hideo Mima. Used with permission.

“Forcibly Medicated to Break His Faith” – text: Hideo Mima, translated from Japanese.

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