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Journalist Uncovering Truth about Witch Hunt

Media campaign

Investigative journalist tells her amazing story of uncovering the truth about modern witch hunt

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

Part 2 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 1, part 3, part 4

However, since the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe two years ago, the Family Federation has been subjected to a lot of criticism. I have spoken at various symposiums on why I started covering the Family Federation.

Unmasking Political Correctness
The front cover page of ‘Unmasking Political Correctness’ by Masumi Fukuda.

One reason I began was that after publishing “Unmasking Political Correctness (ポリコレの正体 って いう) at the end of 2021, “political correctness, known as “PC in America, is sweeping across the country. While writing about it, I felt like I was learning a lot myself, and I completed the book.

During that time, I wanted to interview someone well-versed in American affairs, and I came across an editorial board member of Sekai Nippo (世界日報), who had a dialogue with Masayuki Takayama (高山正幸), a former Sankei Shimbun [large newspaper] commentator, in the conservative monthly magazine “Will. Since the editorial board member seemed knowledgeable about American affairs, I decided to interview him.

Sekai Nippo logo
The logo of the Sekai Nippo

However, when I mentioned this to the editor of the publishing house that put out “Unmasking Political Correctness, he asked, “Isn’t Sekai Nippo related to the Unification Church? Is it okay?

I didn’t know much about it at the time, but I knew that Sekai Nippo was established by Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church. Despite the concern, I noted that many famous conservative figures were giving lectures at Sekai Nippo events and that conservatives were reading Sekai Nippo. It had also published some scoops and provided useful references.

So, I thought, “It should be okay. I proceeded to interview the editorial board member of Sekai Nippo and got a very good impression of him.

He answered the questions I wanted to ask most accurately and thoroughly and was very kind. I tend to be a bit clumsy sometimes, and I made a mistake with my voice recorder running out of batteries during the interview, so I couldn’t record. I was lamenting about it, as I’m not very good with machines, but he immediately changed the batteries in the voice recorder for me and reassured me, saying, “It’s okay. His kindness left a great impression on me, and I believe we met about twice afterwards for some information exchange or something like that.

After that incident, when the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe occurred, and the intense bashing towards the Family Federation followed, naturally, I wondered if the editorial board members were okay. I wasn’t sure if all the employees at Sekai Nippo were followers of the Unification Church. However, as the bashing worsened, I was contemplating whether to reach out.

Monthly Hanada logo
The logo of Monthly Hanada

At that time, a young editor from the Monthly Hanada magazine encouraged me and mentioned that he knew some people connected to conservatives at Sekai Nippo, including the young editor himself. According to him,

Sekai Nippo has high quality, and all the journalists there are good people. Fukuda-san, if you contact them, I’m sure they’ll be glad.

So, I thought, “Maybe I should contact them. I’ll send an email. But I hesitated a bit, wondering if it would be okay.

Around August, over a month after Shinzo Abe’s passing, when I checked online, the bashing against the Family Federation was still going strong. However, amidst all that, there was one comment that stood out: “This is a witch hunt.Upon reading that, I thought,

“Yes, this is indeed a witch hunt. There’s no substantial evidence, yet they’re labeling them as such an anti-social group. Something is definitely not right.

I didn’t fully understand everything yet, but I felt strongly,

“This level of bashing is abnormal. A situation where there isn’t even anyone defending the Family Federation is strange.

So, I decided to email them. I remember the wording vaguely. I wrote a brief email saying,

“The situation is very difficult right now, but are you okay? This feels like a witch hunt. I think this is fascism. I’m thinking of writing something.

So, I sent that email, and I received a reply from him immediately. He wrote something like, “I was so happy that tears came to my eyes. I’m not sure if it was in that email or a subsequent one, but he wrote,

“The current situation is dire, threatening even our right to exist. I’m fine for now, but I have a daughter. If anything were to happen to her too, it would truly be unbearable.

This made me think,

“Wow, this is really a terrible time. Is the Family Federation really such a bad organization?

It was as if there were a dark secret society within Japan, or so everyone was saying. I thought,

“And this person is a member of that society, and yet he is such a good person.

Within myself, I couldn’t reconcile this inconsistency. Also, when I asked the editor from the Monthly Hanada magazine whether all the employees of Sekai Nippo are believers, he said he didn’t really know.

I vaguely remembered hearing from somewhere that believers don’t drink alcohol. So, I mentioned this, and the young editor from Monthly Hanada said, “Huh? The people at Sekai Nippo drink alcohol like crazy. (laughs) So I thought, “Maybe they’re not believers after all? However, later on, it turned out that almost everyone is a believer. Anyway, we had a lively conversation between the two of us. In the end, I thought, “Let’s write something anyway.

Masaki Kito
Masaki Kito (紀藤正樹), leading activist leftwing lawyer of National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales (NNLASS). Photo: Bitter Winter / screenshot

Another reason I decided to start covering the Family Federation was when I saw Masaki Kito [leading member of left-wing activist lawyers’ network hostile to the Family Federation] frequently appearing on TV programs like “Miyane-ya. What Kito was saying seemed quite extreme to me – things like prostitution for high donations, connections to organized crime, and claiming that all believers in Japan are victims. I wondered if a lawyer should really be saying such things. Also, I didn’t even know that the name had changed from the Unification Church to the Family Federation. Hearing Kito speak, I felt he harboured an extraordinary hatred towards the former Unification Church.

Continued in part 3, part 4.

See part 1

Featured image above: Media campaign against the Family Federation in Japan. Illustration: Microsoft Designer Image Creator.

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