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Fumio Kishida Being Compared to Pontius Pilate

Fumio Kishida compared to Pontius Pilate

Investigative journalist on current state persecution: “In the future Fumio Kishida might be seen as a figure like Pontius Pilate.”

Fukuda on minority religion
Masumi Fukuda speaking in Kumamoto 16th June 2024. Photo: Screenshot from video recording.

Part 4 (final part) of a speech Masumi Fukuda (福田ますみ), Japanese investigative journalist and award-winning author, gave 16th June 2024 at the “Kumamoto Conference to Protect Freedom of Religion” at a hotel in Kumamoto, a city of ca. 740,000 inhabitants on the southern island of Kyushu. The conference was attended by members and supporters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, protesting against the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology‘s request for a court order to dissolve the Family Federation of Japan. 

See part 1part 2, part 3

To a certain extent, it is common knowledge within the Family Federation. The believers know the true nature of National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales (Zenkoku Benren). I was surprised by that too. The general public has no idea about it at all.

Toru Goto
Toru Goto, member of Family Federation held captive for 12 years and 5 months by his own family and professional faith-breakers who attempted to break his faith. Photo: FOREF

The true nature of National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, and the abduction and confinement cases, have recently started to be reported on TV and elsewhere due to Toru Goto’s lawsuit against Eito Suzuki [journalist hostile to the Family Federation], but I think the general public still doesn’t understand much about it.

In any case, the network of lawyers is still perceived as being on the side of justice in society, but various flaws are beginning to emerge. In fact, National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales is not primarily an organization for provide relief to victims of spiritual scams. Regarding this inconvenient truth about the network of lawyers, no media outlet besides Zenbo has covered it at all. I think this gap is also a problem.

It’s amazing that ordinary people like us are completely unaware of or aren’t informed of things that are pretty common knowledge among Family Federation believers. It’s just as amazing that the media doesn’t inform us about those things, exercising their “right not to report” to such an extent.

Hate speech
The Japanese network of lawyers painting a black picture of the Family Federation, uses similar rhetoric to what the Nazis used against the Jews. Here the title page of the 1920 British publication of the anonymous edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemittic fraudulent publication describing an alleged Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Photo: Eyre & Spottiswoode / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image

That is because the media, probably many media outlets and television, and the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales are aiming in the same direction. They are anti-religious. The general public in Japan also has no understanding of religion. That was true for me personally as well. The media amplifies this anti-religious sentiment, especially magazines like Bungei Shunju (Bunshun) are completely anti-religious. They are all like that, including the Shukan Shincho.

The media basically regards religion, especially new religions, as something suspicious. Moreover, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification fights against communism and has tried to enact an anti-espionage law. This is completely different from the direction the media aims for. The media and the network of lawyers are heading in exactly the same direction, so they will never report any inconvenient truths about the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales.

As a result, under the Kishida administration, the state itself has become anti-Family Federation. Essentially, the Kishida administration has given official approval to the persecution of the Family Federation. Starting from last year, or even before that, with the severing of ties and ultimately the filing of a dissolution order, the Japanese state has effectively sanctioned the persecution and destruction of the Family Federation. National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales has given its full endorsement of it, so to speak.

However, as I mentioned earlier, ordinary people know that religious persecution is wrong. They understand the importance of protecting freedom of religion. But they have come to see the Family Federation not as a religion, but as a money-collecting organization. Therefore, there are misunderstandings and malice among the general public, heavily influenced by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales.

And then there’s the state. I was a conservative journalist, but it’s like, how should I put it, it’s like fighting against the state. This is something liberals often talk about, right? “Fighting against state power” or “not tolerating the tyranny of state power”. Since I am conservative, I thought I was distanced from such things, but now I find myself fighting against state power. I never dreamed I would end up in such a situation, but the current government policy against the Family Federation, including the request for dissolution, is clearly wrong.

This is complete religious persecution by the state, and there are no excuses for it. This is outright religious persecution. In the future, Prime Minister Kishida might be seen as a figure like Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. According to lawyer Fukumoto, he’s even worse than Pilate.

In any case, there are no excuses. It is complete religious persecution and an infringement on religious freedom. I wonder if there are any media representatives here today. I hope they report on what has not been reported until now. It’s no good if only people like me speak out. We wonder why they are reporting the news in such a premeditated manner, and why various incidents of discrimination and persecution occur against members of the Family Federation.

Why is Japan heading in this direction? I heard from Shunsuke Uotani (魚谷俊輔) of the Universal Peace Federation about how this persecution of the Family Federation is being evaluated overseas. It is being equated with Russia and China.

Persecution in China
Persecution in China: Tibetan Monks arrested in 2008. Photo (5th April 2008): SFT HQ (Students for a Free Tibet) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 2.0 Gen. Cropped

However, what I find even worse in this context is that it is well-known that new religions are being persecuted in Russia and China. Of course, this is very bad. I know a little about China and Russia. In Russia, I once heard a very sad nurse who is a Jehovah’s Witness say that Putin is persecuting them. This is indeed a very serious situation. However, in Japan’s case, Japan is recognized in the world as a member of the G7, an advanced democratic country where religious freedom is fully recognized.

Such religious persecution, in the same league as Russia and China, is happening here. This is an even worse situation. In a sense, Russia and China are very predictable; they are countries where one might expect this kind of behavior, unfortunately. But Japan is not expected to do such things by the international community.

Therefore, I want everyone to raise your voices about this situation. Overseas, this is seen as a crisis of democracy in Japan. A crisis of religious freedom is equivalent to a crisis of democracy. I wonder if the current Kishida administration is doing this without realizing it. That is the most serious aspect of this situation.

Honestly, I feel that this lack of awareness is extremely malicious. Overseas, the current situation in Japan is seen as a crisis of democracy. It’s not just a matter of religious freedom. Religious freedom is fundamentally an issue of human rights, established first and foremost alongside freedom of speech, freedom of association, and individual rights. This is being neglected in Japan. Religious freedom is essentially about the freedom of one’s mind.

I want the media to consider this more carefully. The biased reporting by the media really needs to be corrected.

Thank you very much.

See part 1part 2, part 3

Featured image above: Scene from the Italian film Ponzio Pilato (1962). Photo: Utente:Vabbè. Public domain image

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