Extreme China-inspired leftwingers rejoicing as Kishida administration introduces laws for mass deprogramming tens of thousands with “wrong views”
In an article in Bitter Winter, the leading online magazine for human rights and religious freedom, Dr. Massimo Introvigne points out in an article 25th Jan. 2024 what extreme anti-religious measures the Kishida administration are introducing.
The headline is “Is Japan Introducing State-Sponsored Deprogramming?”
Read the whole Bitter Winter article.
Kishida and his government ministers have apparently bought the anti-religious narrative of a network of radical leftwing lawyers, National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales.
The background to the proposed government-supported faith-breaking is a cabinet meeting on 19th January, where suggestions were put forth to encourage current members of the Unification Church to leave the group, aided by individuals who have left the organization, known as apostates.
The Italian sociologist of religion explains how such extreme plans stem from events starting on 8th July 2022, when former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. The assassin’s motivation was attributed to his mother’s involvement with the Unification Church, leading to her financial ruin due to excessive donations to the group. This incident sparked a media frenzy against the Unification Church, supported by anti-cult organizations.
Subsequently, the Japanese government sought legal action to dissolve the Unification Church and passed laws targeting “cults”, including measures to recover donations and prevent the indoctrination of minors. Introvigne emphasizes that these efforts are fueled by a belief in the discredited theory of brainwashing.
He mentions how the laws represent a serious infringement on religious freedom and aim to not just control the Unification Church, but also other religions. Introvigne spells out how one of the laws,
“ordered religious groups not to ‘indoctrinate’ minors, with provisions clearly targeting not only the Unification Church but also the Jehovah’s Witnesses and conservative Christian groups. A third law offered assistance to ‘victims’ of ‘cults’. Recent draft guidelines proposed a very extensive notion of ‘victim’, also including those who deny having been victimized – again, because of ‘brainwashing’. In practice, every member of the Family Federation is a ‘victim’, including those who say they are perfectly happy to remain in the movement.”
Despite deprogramming being declared illegal by the Japanese Supreme Court in 2015, recent proposals suggest reintroducing a form of state-sponsored deprogramming. This proposal is based on the idea that all members of the Unification Church are victims of brainwashing and need rescuing through deprogramming.
Introvigne describes the reasoning behind the extreme measures,
“Now, however, Japan is considering re-introducing a state-sponsored form of deprogramming. This is a logical consequence of the broad notion of ‘victim’ being proposed and of the Japanese government’s support of the pseudo-scientific theory of brainwashing. If all Japanese Unification Church members are ‘victims’ who do not realize they are ‘victims’ because they are under the effect of ‘brainwashing’, the only way to ‘rescue’ them is deprogramming.”
This approach mirrors practices in authoritarian states like China and Russia, where state-sponsored deprogramming is common. Japan’s plan involves collaborating with apostate ex-members to train counselors who will provide support to current members, including approaching second-generation members in schools. Additionally, there are proposals to establish “shelter homes” for second-generation members, purportedly to assist those in poverty but likely aimed at isolating them from their families and facilitating deprogramming efforts.
These measures draw parallels to China’s “Love Homes”, where individuals are subjected to Communist Party indoctrination.
“The ‘shelter homes’ are very similar to the ‘Love Homes’ where the Chinese Communist Party deprograms ‘cultists’ and their children, teaching them to repudiate the ‘cult’ and learn to ‘firmly believe in the Communist Party, love the Party and follow the Party’.”
The Japanese Communist Party has expressed support for actions against the Unification Church, suggesting a concerning trend towards government intervention in religious affairs reminiscent of authoritarian regimes.
The Italian scholar makes plain the connection to the Japanese Communist Party,
“In fact, we learn from the official website of the Japanese Communist Party that on October 16, 2023, the ‘Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Masahito Moriyama visited the office of Akira Koike, Secretary General of the Japanese Communist Party, at the House of Councilors, and reported that he had requested the Tokyo District Court to order the dissolution of the Unification Church (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification). Koike demanded that the government and the ruling party take responsibility for the care of active believers.’
What this ‘care’ is all about can be easily guessed. Perhaps Koike shared with the Minister the good example of China’s ‘Love Homes’.”
Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist of religions and founder and managing director of Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is also author of some 70 books and hundreds of articles in the field of sociology of religion.
More about deprogramming in Japan: Japan: 4300 Abductions and Forcible Detentions
Yet more about deprogramming in Japan: Collusion to Rob Minority of Its Rights
Still more about deprogramming in Japan: State and Media Creating “Today’s Non-Citizens”
And even more about deprogramming in Japan: Lawyers Using Witnesses under Duress