Media bias and discrimination described by journalists / authors at Tokyo symposium.
Tokyo, 22nd January 2024 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article
Why Did Reporting Go Astray? Thorough Examination by Journalists on Reporting about the Former Unification Church
by the editorial department, Sekai Nippo
Symposium in Tokyo
The symposium “Why Did Reporting Go Astray? Thorough Examination by Journalists on Reporting on the Former Unification Church“ (organized by UPF-Japan) was held on the 20th January 2024 in Tokyo to investigate the media’s continued coverage bashing the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly known as the Unification Church). As panelists, non-fiction writer Masaki Kubota (窪田順生), non-fiction author Masumi Fukuda (福田ますみ), and author Fumihiro Kato (加藤文宏) attended, expressing their respective views.
Kubota pointed out factors contributing to the media’s “astray” reporting, such as excessive reliance on sources and a tendency to unquestionably believe in reports from fellow journalists. While respecting the media’s role in rigorously investigating the religious organisation, he emphasized the issue of imbalance, stating,
“It’s a problem. This is not wartime, so interviews with believers should be included, and that is the role of the media.”
Fukuda touched upon the issue of abduction and confinement of followers of the religious group, highlighting that it was testimonies of ex-members that resulted in dissolution requests. She further stated,
“While spiritual sales practices have been extensively reported and even called an ‘enormous evil,’ the issue of abduction and confinement has never been reported. Ordinary people are unaware of its maliciousness and reality. It is a major incident in Japanese society, and it is natural to continue to speak about it.”
Kato presented the fluctuation in the number of searches for “Unification Church” on Google, revealing a sharp increase in searches in July 2022, followed by a rapid decline. In 2023, the search volume was higher than before the shooting incident involving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but it remained low. From this, Kato concluded,
“The continuous discussion of the relationship between the religious organisation and politics in the media was limited to a small segment of the population. The chasing of the religious group has caused a division in society between those who discriminate and those being discriminated. This is harmful not only to believers, but also to Japanese society as a whole.”
Featured image above: From left, Fumihiro Kato (加藤文宏), Masumi Fukuda (福田ますみ), Masaki Kubota (窪田順生), who attended the symposium as panelists at the Kyoto District Court (京都地裁) on afternoon of 20th Jan. 2024, Shinjuku (都新宿) ward, Tokyo. Photo: Takahide Ishii (石井孝秀) / Sekai Nippo. Published with permission.
“Journalists Point out Vicious Media Bias” – text: Editorial department, Sekai Nippo, Tokyo.
More about media bias: Media-Created Public Opinion Is Boss
Yet more about media bias: Horrendous Persecution in Japan
Still more about media bias: Press Release about Media Attacks
Masaki Kubota (窪田順生) is the author of “Infiltrating the Former Unification Church – the Complete Story of the Request for a Dissolution Order and the Deepest Secrets of the ‘No Good Coverage’” (2023). He has also authored several other books and is a non-fiction writer who has contributed to weekly and monthly magazines. Kubota has also worked first as a producer, then as an advisor for TV-documentaries. He is journalist for a weekly magazine and a newspaper, and editor of a monthly magazine.
See a series of articles containing an interview with him and more about media bias:
Masumi Fukuda (福田ますみ) is an award-winning Japanese author, also known for her investigative journalism. She has researched the Unification Church issue extensively and has written two series of articles about it in the monthly magazine Hanada. See
Fumihiro Kato (加藤文宏) has published several books as Fumi Kato. Launched the interview magazine Monthly IJ covering a wide range of people, from the general public to celebrities. Wrote an analytic article about the Unification Church issue and its media coverage in the February 2023 issue of the monthly magazine Seiron.