News and Insights

In the Clutches of Abusive Deprogrammers

Kidnapping of believer

A victim’s account of the world of abusive deprogrammers

Part 2 of the amazing story of medical doctor Hirohisa Koide 

See part 1. See part 3.

And then, to my surprise, the next thing I knew, a claim for a writ of habeas corpus [legal writ that orders those holding a detainee to bring him before a court] had been filed by the hospital where I worked. My parents were notified of this, and it was delivered to the place where I was forcibly detained.

Yasutomo Matsunaga
Pastor Yasutomo Matsunaga (松永康智) of the Niitsu Evangelical Christian Church. Photo: FFWPU
Takashi Miyamura, one of abusive deprogrammers
Professional deprogrammer Takashi Miyamura (宮村峻). Photo: FFWPU

My father then consulted with Takashi Miyamura about it, and he suggested that we flee to someone he knew. That was pastor Yasutomo Matsunaga. We went where the pastor indicated, first to Niigata City, then to Kashiwazaki City and Joetsu City. We moved from one place to another, and finally to Niitsu City, where the church of pastor Matsunaga was located. There I was confined. (Those are all cities in Niigata Prefecture)

False confession

I think one of the main reasons for all this moving from one place to another was that a habeas corpus claim has been filed.

Then, in November in Joetsu City, I actually thought, “If I don’t say that my faith was wrong, I won’t be able to get out of this.” So for about four months I kept saying that I was wrong. I kept saying it, but in Joetsu City, I was not let out even once.

What does it mean to keep a person locked up for four months even though he confessed he was wrong?

Japanese victims
Four of the 4,300 Japanese members of the Family Federation who became victims of kidnapping, forcible detention and attempted deprogramming. Here at a conference in Tokyo 10th September 2023. Hirohisa Koide is second from left. Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video published by Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

I wonder what the criteria for evaluation in my case were. There were no formal criteria for any diagnosis. We doctors do what we do based on certain evaluation criteria, but in my case, there were no diagnostic criteria. It was as if Miyamura was making choices based on a feeling of being God.

It’s frightening.  There are doctors, and even so-called “hair doctors” nowadays, but even those doctors hold conferences and listen to everyone’s opinions in the world of doctors. But when it comes to this abduction and confinement, Miyamura is God.

Lately, people have been saying things like baseball player Murakami is God, but I feel like Miyamura really regards himself as God.

Our suffering

My father was quite distressed. After we moved to Niitsu City, he found out that I had in fact not abandoned my faith. So my father seemed to feel, “This guy doesn’t give up his faith.”

He felt that I had become just like him. While observing me like that, every night he made a phone call to Miyamura for reports.

When he reported to my father over the phone, Miyamura would say every day, “You damn old bastard, it’s because you didn’t love your son. It’s because you raised him poorly. It’s because you don’t know how to communicate.” He was blaming my father every day.

Lodge in Niigata
What the mountain lodge where Hirohisa Koide was forcibly detained, looked like. Photo: Hirohisa Koide

My father was hearing this every day for 11 months. It was driving him crazy. Then he spoke to me about Miyamura and Matsunaga, “You know too much about this group. That’s why there’s no way you can get out of here alive. I am a war veteran who used to be ready to die. I am ready to die now. You should be ready to die too.”

Despite that, I was somehow lecturing him on the Unification Principles and thought I was quite good at it. Well, I think it was a bit bad the way I did it. It cornered my father even more. Then, when he came at me and tried to hit me, his eyes were abnormal. He thought, “This guy is going to die. I’ve had enough, let’s just kill ourselves.” Now that I think about it, I still think that if we had killed ourselves there, the kidnapping and confinement would have been over.

I sometimes wonder if my father’s sacrifice was in vain, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to decide to die or commit suicide with my family there. I said, “I just can’t believe it anymore.” I think everyone was relieved.

After that, the degree of confinement decreased a little. The place was called a mountain lodge, but I don’t know where it was. They wouldn’t even show me a map. This is what it was like there. (Showing picture)

Shown off in the media

Yoshifu Arita
Yoshifu Arita in 2014. Photo:碧庵 / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 3.0 Unp. Cropped

Then, in July 1993, Miyamura contacted me and said, “Arita, that Yoshifu Arita [Born 1952, named Yoshifu after Joseph Stalin, journalist, writer, anti-religious activist and politician for Japanese Communist Party 1990-2007, elected to House of Councillors (Upper House) in the Diet 2010-2022 for Constitutional Democratic Party] and a reporter from the Weekly Bunshun are going to interview you, is that OK?”  I thought, “If I say no, I will be in a position to be killed again.” I had no choice but to say yes.

Although people often talk about freedom of speech, if you are confined, it becomes forced speech. You are no longer free to speak and cannot appeal for freedom of speech. That’s why Yoshifu Arita said, “You’ve been locked up for a year and you’ve endured it well.

Flat in Niitsu
A block of flats in Niitsu where Hirohisa Koide was kept forcibly detained. Photo: H. Koide

He knew that I had been forcibly detained. But he’d rather hear about what kind of medical treatment was being given at the hospital where there were many believers. They only interviewed me about that and didn’t want to hear anything about my one year absence. I don’t know whether the Shukan Bunshun reporter knew about that or not, but he didn’t show any interest and didn’t report about it. It was a completely biased reporting.

That’s why I have to assume that they think that anyone who believes in the wrong religion deserves to be locked up and undergo thought reform.

And it didn’t end there. This TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System, known for leftwing bias] special report continues to run. The broadcast still exists. Miyamura had told me about two months earlier that he had prepared a suitable debut stage for me.

Niitsu Evangelical Christian Church
Niitsu Evangelical Christian Church, where Yasutomo Matsunaga was pastor. Apparently, the church was renovated with money from huge kidnapping and deprogramming fees that relatives of members of the Family Federation had been tricked to pay by faith-breakers and lawyers telling horrendous lies about the Family Federation. Photo: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion 

That’s why Takashi Miyamura knew about TBS and their planned news report two months early. Therefore, the TBS director and staff came to Niigata. At that time, I was still locked up in an apartment in Niitsu City. I was forcibly detained and couldn’t go out. I was always inside the house, in my room, with just my parents.

It was filmed on a riverbank, and at the time, the TBS director behaved like a lickspittle. “I want to make a number of special programs next time. Miyamura, you’re amazing,” he said. The TBS staff kept talking in the car, and when they arrived at the riverbank, it was as if they didn’t know who the director was.

Miyamura was leaning back in his chair. As if he was the boss, he said arrogantly, “What you’re saying there is a little strange. No Unification Church member would think such a thing.” It was an interview with me, but he kept making corrections.

And that was broadcasted on TBS TV. I’m standing here saying this, but after the broadcast, eggs were thrown at the hospital where I worked.

To be continued in part 3. See part 1

Featured image above: Drawing depicting kidnapping of a member of the Family Federation in Japan. Image: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

More about abusive deprogrammers: Japan: 4300 Abductions And Forcible Detentions

Yet more about abusive deprogrammers: Father Tricked by Deprogrammers to Kidnap Son

And still more about abusive deprogrammers: Kidnapping Victim Sues Activist Journalist

Even more about abusive deprogrammers: Press Release about Media Attacks

More about abusive deprogrammers: Persecutors May Be Held Criminally Liable

More about abusive deprogrammers: Response to Scandalous Bias

More about abusive deprogrammers: Lawyers Manipulating, Coercing, Lying

More about abusive deprogrammers: Illegalities of Activist Lawyers Exposed


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