Victims of kidnapping and forcible detention mocked and insulted by activist journalist
Toru Goto, victim of abduction and confinement, files lawsuit against Eito Suzuki over his remark that Goto is a “recluse” (hiki komori).
By Sekai Nippo Editorial Department, 4th Oct. 2023
“He is not qualified to talk about human rights,” Goto alleges in tears
Toru Goto, 59, a member of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Family Federation, formerly the Unification Church) was abducted and confined by his family and faith-breaking experts in order to force him to give up his faith. On 4th October, he filed a lawsuit against journalist Eito Suzuki at the Tokyo District Court, seeking damages for defamation. He is seeking 11 million yen [$ 74,000] as compensation for emotional distress.
According to the complaint, Suzuki criticized Goto on the news website Yaya Nikkan Cult Shimbun, where Suzuki is the main writer, as “a male believer who stayed in his flat and became a NEET [Not in Education, Employment, or Training] after recuperation, becoming just a ‘recluse’.”
On Nippon TV’s Information Live Miyaneya, he repeatedly criticized Goto, such as commenting that he was a “recluse” (引きこもり – hiki komori). Furthermore, Suzuki also defamed Toru Goto at a symposium held in July this year. When Suzuki was asked about the fact that he referred to Goto as a “recluse” (hiki komori), Suzuki replied, “I don’t care.” He also posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Goto was a puppet forced to play the “role of a victim”.
At a briefing session held in Tokyo after filing the lawsuit, Goto emphasized, “Eito Suzuki’s remarks are truly terrible. He is not qualified to talk about human rights.” “I simply cannot tolerate insulting and mocking remarks about women who committed suicide while in captivity, rape victims, and people who are victims of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” he said in a choked voice. Explaining his motive for filing the lawsuit, he stated, “If we allow this to continue, the number of victims of abduction and confinement will increase even more.”
According to the Family Federation, more than 4,300 believers were abducted and held captive. Among them, Toru Goto was confined to a room in an apartment in Tokyo and other areas for 12 and a half years. He filed a civil lawsuit against relatives, a faith-breaking activist and a Christian pastor, who were all involved in his abduction and confinement. The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 in Toru Goto’s favour.
Regarding the government’s request for an order to dissolve the Family Federation, Shinichi Tokunaga, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said that the trial would be a good opportunity to make the reality of the abduction and confinement known to the public, which could work to the advantage of the Family Federation.
Separately, on the same day, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), a collegial group of the Family Federation, filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court against Suzuki seeking 11 million yen in damages for defamation caused by Suzuki’s comments about former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe sent a video message to an international conference held by the UPF in September 2021. Suzuki wrote on X on 1st July this year that he had “inside information of 100 million yen to President Trump and 50 million yen to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.” Suzuki made the same claims in lectures and magazines. UPF insists that it has neither paid Shinzo Abe nor any of his affiliated organisations.
Featured image above: Toru Goto at briefing in Tokyo 4th October 2023. Photo: Sekai Nippo. Published with permission
“Kidnapping Victim Sues Activist Journalist” – text: Sekai Nippo editorial department
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