Toru Goto recalls his horrendous ordeal fighting evil Japanese practise – part 1
Read part 2
Toru Goto (後藤徹) is a victim of abduction, forcible detention for incredible 12 years and 5 months, during which time he was put under constant duress to give up his faith. He could tell his story in great detail in an 8-page feature article in the December 2023 issue of the Japanese monthly opinion magazine Seiron (正論), published by the Sankei Shimbun, one of the country’s top 5 daily national newspapers.
Another recent event that threw Goto onto the main stage of the Japanese media world, was his 4th October defamation lawsuit against anti-religious activist journalist Eito Suzuki. See Kidnapping Victim Sues Activist Journalist
Today, we are able to bring you some glimpses into the extraordinary life of Toru Goto, told in his own words.
He shared his story at a special symposium on the theme “Abduction and Confinement – Who Destroys Families?” 10th September 2023 at the Shibuya, Tokyo headquarters of the Family Federation of Japan. It was organised by the the Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion. At the symposium, several victims of horrendous deprogramming attempts spoke.
Toru Goto was introduced by Nobuyuki Kaeriyama, a spokesperson for the association of victims, with the words,
“I would like to move on to a testimony from a victim of abduction and confinement. First, the representative of our association, Toru Goto, will take the stage. The title of his speech is ‘I learnt how precious freedom is through my 12 years and 5 months of abduction and confinement.’
Toru Goto was abducted and forcibly detained when he returned to his parents’ home on the night of 11th September 1995. He was not released from his captivity at all until 10th February 2008.
Indeed, over a period of 12 years and 5 months, he was put under duress to renounce his faith and subjected to mental and physical abuse in a group setting, pushing him to the breaking point. However, he survived.
Today, he testifies to the existence of a living and working God. Let’s all welcome him with a big round of applause.”
Here is part 1 of Toru Goto’s keynote speech,
I was abducted and imprisoned for 12 years and five months, from the age of 31 to 44, because of my faith in the Family Federation.
Many people say that this is unbelievable in today’s Japan. However, in my case, in a civil lawsuit that I filed, the High Court ruling in favor of the plaintiff was finalized by the Supreme Court on September 29, 2015. In that ruling, the fact of my 12-year and 5-month abduction and confinement was recognized, and a total compensation order of 22 million yen was issued. So, at least, I hope you can understand that this is not entirely unfounded.
I would like to talk about my experience in the said confinement for 12 years and five months. It was my family that abducted me. First of all, I would like to tell you how I got to this point.
My older brother was the first member of my family to join the Family Federation. I am the middle one of three siblings, with an older brother and younger sister.
My family was a most ordinary family. My father was a “corporate warrior” [salaryman loyal to his company] and had a habit of saying, “Study hard!”
My mother was kind and gentle, and she never complained even when I wet the bed and made the sheets soaking wet. She washed them every day without a word. My older brother worked in a construction company and was a talented guy, but he was a bit of a hothead.
Whenever I taught my sister maths, she would say, “I always get good marks thanks to you, big brother.” She was really happy. We were a normal, close-knit family. In my family, the person I respected the most was my elder brother.
I decided to pursue a career in architecture at university because of the influence of my older brother, who graduated from the architecture department.
My brother introduced me to the Family Federation. I was in my fourth year of university. He was deeply moved by the teachings of the Family Federation and enthusiastically preached to me. He also converted my sister. In this way, all three of us became members of Family Federation. That was already 36 years ago.
My brother, who was the first to join the Family Federation, was able to quit his job and explain to his parents how to become a devotee of the Family Federation. My parents were surprised, but my brother spoke about it with so much passion that they eventually approved.
My brother told me that my father told him something like, “It’s your life, so live it without regrets.”
If it had not been for certain events in the Goto family, we would probably still be a close-knit family.
As the name suggests, the Family Federation is a religion that values the family above all else.
Let’s say that three siblings had lived a life with God at the center, where they loved each other and practiced the faith of the Family Federation. If all three had continued like that, they would have got married, started their own family, and gathered together for a fun time during the New Year. We would probably have become a closer family than before we became religious.
However, due to a certain incident, our family was destroyed. That particular event was the intervention of a third party.
Who was the third party? He was a specialist in persuading members to quit their faith, called a faith-breaker [“exit counselor”].
In the case of the Goto family, the faith-breaker was Takashi Miyamura (宮村峻). At that time, my parents began attending a study group run by Miyamura. He worked with Satoshi Moriyama (森山諭 ) of Ogikubo Glory Church. The focus of the study group was “exit persuasion”.
It was a study group to encourage members of the Family Federation to leave the group. What triggered it, seems to have been hearing bad rumors about the Family Federation from relatives and becoming anxious. Parents learnt how to get their children out of the group. The method was abduction and confinement.
A family abducts a son or daughter, isolates and confines him or her in an apartment or some other place. There, a third-party “exit counselor” meets the believer face to face, slowly destroys the person’s faith, and does not release the believer until he or she quits the group. The “exit counselors” refer to this method as “protective persuasion”.
At first it was my brother. After being summoned by our father to our parents’ home in Tokyo, my brother disappeared without a trace. He was abducted by several men who were waiting for him on the street and taken away in a van.
My brother was forcibly detained in an apartment for about a month. Takashi Miyamura (宮村峻) destroyed his faith, making him quit our movement.
My older brother did not just leave the Family Federation, but began being hostile and hateful towards it, due to the influence of Miyamura.
And then I was abducted and held captive. At that time, Miyamura persuaded me to leave the Federation, but after just over a month, I was able to escape and went straight back to the Family Federation. However, after that, my younger sister was abducted and forcibly detained and quit our group.
Eventually, I became the only one to remain in the Family Federation. My parents and siblings became vehemently opposed to it.
I was forced to use a false name and quit my job out of fear that I might be abducted at any time and held captive again.
If a believer who spends time with other believers, is abducted, forcibly detained and then leaves the group, there is a risk that the whereabouts of the other believers will be known, and that they will be ambushed and abducted. Since my family knew where I worked, there was a risk that I would be ambushed, kidnapped and confined.
Originally, one’s family should have been those you trust the most. But when they may be involved in kidnapping you again at any time, they have become a terrifying presence that you cannot trust even if you want to.
After that, I gradually built a certain level of trust with them over the course of eight years.
Continue to read: Part 2.
Featured image above: Toru Goto speaking 10th September 2023 in Tokyo. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission by the Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion.
More about evil Japanese practise: Japan: 4300 Abductions and Forcible Detentions
Even more about evil Japanese practise: Religious Freedom Violated in Japan
Yet more about evil Japanese practise: Father Tricked by Deprogrammers to Kidnap Son
And still more about evil Japanese practise: In the Clutches of Abusive Deprogrammers
Still more about evil Japanese practise: Lawyers and Deprogrammers Hand in Hand
And still more about evil Japanese practise: Horrendous Persecution in Japan
And still more about evil Japanese practise: Japan Following the Way of China
And still more about evil Japanese practise: 12 Religious Freedom NGOs Denouncing Japan
More about evil Japanese practise: Japan Urged To Make U-Turn