News and Insights

Police Turns Blind Eye to Forcible Detention

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Officer

Japanese police systematically ignored thousands of cases of forcible detention

Part 2 of Norishige Kondo’s speech 10th Sep. 2023

Norishige Kondo revealing forcible detention
Norishige Kondo addressing symposium in Tokyo 10th Sept. 2023. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission by Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

Norishige Kondo (近藤徳茂), author and Deputy Director of the Legal Affairs Department of the Family Federation of Japan, spoke at a special symposium on the theme “Abduction and Confinement – Who Destroys Families?” 10th September 2023 at the Shibuya, Tokyo headquarters of the Family Federation of Japan. It was organised by the Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion. His speech was titled, “Response of Public Institutions to the Abduction and Confinement Issue”.

See part 1, part 3

On the other hand, I would like to explain how public institutions have responded to this kind of abduction, confinement, and forced de-conversion.

First of all, the police. A scene of a conflict may be when a believer is about to be abducted, and other believers try to help him or her. This can lead to scuffles with those trying to de-convert someone. If the police were to come to such a scene, they would first have the two sides separated. After hearing the circumstances from both sides, they would eventually hand over the believer to his parents or relatives.

Alternatively, what would happen if a believer forcibly detained managed to call the police? Even if the police did come to the scene, they would only listen to what the relatives had to say, leave them alone, and then withdraw.

Also, let’s say a believer reports the incident to the police immediately after escaping. Even if the police came, the police would eventually take the believer to the police station. Then they would call the relatives to come there and hand the believer over to them.

The public prosecutor’s office also dismissed all criminal charges filed by believers released from confinement.

Of course, in the past, there have been cases where female believers who were victims of rape [during forcible detention], filed criminal charges.  But unless the case was extreme, the public prosecutor’s office would generally dismiss all such charges.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice has a Human Rights Bureau (人権擁護局), but it did nothing at all in response to inquiries from our church headquarters.

Monthly Gendai Nov. 2004
Front cover page of Monthly Gendai Nov. 2004
Facsimile from Monthly Gendai Nov. 2004.
Facsimile from Monthly Gendai Nov. 2004.

This is the November 2004 issue of the monthly magazine Gendai (月刊現代) published by Kodansha (講談社). It carried a feature-length article by Kazuhiro Yonemoto (米本和弘) titled “The Untold Story of the Horror and Tragedy of Religious Confinement” (書かれざる宗教監禁の恐怖と悲劇).

As a result of the abduction, confinement, and forced de-conversion, there have been several cases where de-converted believers suffer from severe PTSD due to long-term forcible detention. Among them, is the case of Mrs. Nakajima (中島) mentioned earlier today.

There is also the case when another female believer, who was introduced to the church at the same time as Nakajima, was abducted and held captive.

On 25th November 1995, the relatives of this female member attempted to abduct her on the streets of Takadanobaba (高田馬場) [in Shinjuku, Tokyo]. A scuffle ensued with members of the church.

At that time, a police car came, and an investigation was conducted at the police station. However, when the police realized that it was a Unification Church issue, they ended up handing the person over to her parents.

After leaving the church due to her abduction, she ended up suffering from severe PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]. For this reason, her family deeply regrets their involvement in the abduction.

Therefore, in a sense, the police thought it was a good thing and turned a blind eye to the abduction and confinement. They ended up handing the believer over to the parents. However, as a result, even the parents were left with a situation that they regretted.

Koto-ku apartment
Apartments similar to the one where S.A. was held in forcible detention in 1997. Photo: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

This is an incident involving a female believer named S.A. She was abducted on 22nd October 1997 and held captive in a sixth-floor apartment in Koto-ku (江東区) in Tokyo. She was unable to open or close the door to her room and the windows, which all faced the balcony.

However, on 1st November she somehow managed to get out onto the balcony and was able to escape to the adjoining flat. She then borrowed the landline phone of the person next door and called the police.

The police arrived at the scene and took her to the police station. They then called her relatives to come and tried to convince her to return with her relatives.

She refused, so the police ended up putting her in a police car and took her to the entrance of an expressway. When a car carrying her relatives arrived, the police handed her over to them.

Guesthouse in Yamanashi
Guesthouse similar to the one where S.A. was held in forcible detention in 1997 in Yamanashi. Photo: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

Her relatives took her to Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県) and detained her in a guesthouse like the one shown here.

Then, on 8th November, she was able to get out through the bathroom window and escape through the bushes.

There was also an incident involving a female believer named A.M. She was abducted from her apartment in Akishima City (昭島市) on 16th May 1998 and held captive in an apartment in Saitama (埼玉).

She succeeded to escape through the window while pretending to have left the church. But after the escape, she discovered that her father had made a plan to abduct and forcibly detain her.

The plan included a passage with instructions to notify the police in advance. At that time, the opposition group was instructing relatives who were trying to abduct and forcibly detain a believer, to contact the police beforehand.

Featured image above: Tokyo Metropolitan Police Officer, Shinjuku Station, Tokyo, Japan 16th May 2009. Photo: Stanistani / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 3.0 Unp. Cropped

Continued, see part 3.

See part 1

“Police Turns Blind Eye to Forcible Detention” – text: Norishige Kondo

Even more about forcible detention: Japan: 4300 Abductions and Forcible Detentions

Yet more about forcible detention: Heroic Battle against Evil Japanese Practise

And still more about forcible detention: Gross Human Rights Violations in Japan

Even more about forcible detention: Father Tricked by Deprogrammers to Kidnap Son

More about forcible detention: In the Clutches of Abusive Deprogrammers

More about forcible detention: Lawyers and Deprogrammers Hand in Hand


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