A reporter asks about the horrendous persecution largely created by the media
At a press conference 7th Nov. 2023 at the national headquarters of the Family Federation in Shibuya, Tokyo, attended by most major Japanese news outlets, the president of the Family Federation of Japan, Tomihiro Tanaka, was asked about the wave of persecution members have experienced since the Abe assassination in July 2022.
Tanaka was asked by reporter Sasayama from the Asahi Shimbun,
“I’ve been reporting on this for a year […] and have also heard stories of active believers in their 30s being discriminated against at work and being refused medical treatment at hospitals, so-called social discrimination. Please tell us about the scale and examples you know about as a religious organization.”
President Tanaka gave a detailed answer,
“Regarding discrimination and victimization, we have been experiencing a truly difficult situation since the incident involving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
- For example, there was a young man who was forced to quit his job because he appeared in a photo reported by the media.
- A student who graduated from a Korean university related to the church had his job offer rescinded.
- Also, there have been cases where teachers have criticized the Family Federation endlessly during social studies classes at school, causing children to become so stressed that they are no longer able to go to school.
- Also, there were some test questions in the high school, whose answers led to conclusions that slandered the Family Federation.
- Due to media reports, a young man who suffered excessive stress attempted suicide, and some actually committed suicide.
Also, there are people who actually got divorced because their husbands forced them to choose between leaving the religious organisation and getting a divorce, and there are people whose lives were finally saved by going to the police.
- There are, of course, many stories of people having their belongings disposed of by their relatives.
- Also, regarding Family Federation employees, there are some who have had their contracts terminated for the apartments they live in and are having trouble finding new apartments under the name of the Family Federation.
- There are also hospitals that refuse to treat patients when they see ‘Family Federation’ written on their insurance cards.
- Also, there have been cases where local churches and businesses run by members have been refused real estate contracts.
- Also, there are many cases where we have been denied the use of public facilities all over the country.
- Bank transactions have become difficult and have been stopped.
- Also, this building of our movement is the headquarters, and when we hold a ceremony here, we use a lot of flowers and a lot of catered lunch boxes, and we are sometimes refused to order such things.
- Also, there has been a notice from above that prohibits the sale of certain famous brand cars (Toyota) to our church nationwide, so we are no longer able to buy cars at our branches.
Graffiti has been painted on church facilities, and public meetings have been disrupted by sound trucks showing up during worship hours.
- There have been more than 20,000 cases of harassment, threatening phone calls, murder threats, and so on against the church. We stopped counting after it exceeded 20,000. There have been many things such as knives and suspicious items sent to us.
- According to our movement’s teachings, we should ‘live for the sake of others’, or love the community, and work hard to improve our character while doing service activities. However, this service itself is currently facing a difficult situation. This is what hurts the most.
- For a long time, the children had been involved in a campaign to create flower beds, which was allowed by a certain local administration, but suddenly it was stopped by the authorities because they were children of the Family Federation. The children were then asked to take home the flowers they had planted, so they tearfully pulled them out and took them back home. These things are actually happening.
The media is buzzing with the phrase, ‘Even if the Family Federation receives a dissolution order, it will simply lose its preferential tax treatment, and there will be no problem in continuing its faith.’ However, that has become a problem even before the request for a dissolution order was filed. Therefore, it is already a clear fact if there is a discussion of a dissolution order in the future, or if it is issued, the faith itself will become difficult to practice. By some local administrations, members of the Family Federation are treated like second-class citizens.
In view of this current situation, we are now thinking deeply about how we can protect these believers at all costs. Members of the Family Federation normally abide by the law, pay taxes normally, love their families, and live their lives valuing small acts of service.
In particular, children are treasures for both our church and Japan as they are the ones who will carry the future. We are aware that we must protect these children, and we sincerely hope that you will listen to the voices of our believers.”
Featured image above: From the press conference i Tokyo 7th Nov. 2023. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission by the Family Federation of Japan.
More about horrendous persecution: Incendiary Hate Speech from Washington Post
And yet more about horrendous persecution: 12 Religious Freedom NGOs Denouncing Japan
Still more about horrendous persecution: Press Release About Media Attacks
And even more about horrendous persecution: Pure Activism in Japanese Media
And even more about horrendous persecution: Heavily Biased Japanese Reporting