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Protests: Japan’s Measures Seen as Totalitarian

Masayuki Kudo

More protests are being held in Japan against measures seen as totalitarian taken by the Kishida administration against minority faith 

Sekai Nippo on LDP pressuring council
Logo of the Sekai Nippo

Tokyo, 8th July 2024 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article

“We’ve been labeled,” say second-generation believers with agitated voices at a rally calling for religious freedom

by the editorial department of Sekai Nippo

Rallies were held in various places to protest the unfairness of the government’s request for a court order to dissolve the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly known as the Unification Church). On 7th July, in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, the second “Gunma Rally to Protect Basic Human Rights and Freedom of Religion”, following the first one in March of this year, was held, attracting about 400 believers.

Protesting measures seen as totalitarian
Location of the cities mentioned. Illustration: Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumhwa) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 3.0 Unp

A second-generation believer, a woman who said her heart had been hurt by the bashing of the religious organization, spoke with an agitated voice, saying, “Second-generation believers have been labeled as pitiable.” Nevertheless, she expressed her resolve, saying, “I received the church’s blessing of marriage of my own will. I am happy now. I will continue to live in a way that contributes to the nation.”

Fumiya Sako (酒生文弥), head priest of Jodo Shinshū Shinjōji Temple (浄土真宗真照寺) [Editor’s note: part of Shin Buddhism or True Pure Land Buddhism], pointed out that the separation of religion and state in Japan was imposed by the former Allied Powers after the war, and he viewed this as problematic. He preached that the core of religion is “love for one’s neighbour” and emphasized the importance of “protecting the freedom of the soul”.

In Sapporo, the “Hokkaido Rally to Protect Basic Human Rights and Freedom of Religion” was held on 6th July, with about 200 believers gathering. Masayuki Kudō (工藤雅之), a resident of Sapporo and one of the current believers who gave a speech, reported his experience as a victim of abduction and confinement aimed at forcibly breaking his faith. Criticizing the methods used in abductions and confinement and the bias of the media, he said,

“For over 40 years, lawyers opposing the Family Federation and Christian ministers known as faith-breakers have collaborated, using violent methods to abduct and confine people. The media has never reported any truth that is inconvenient to them.”

Norio Hosoya
Norio Hosoya (細谷典男), Japanese author and politician. Among his books is one titled “The Constitution and the Former Unification Church” (憲法と『旧統一教会』) (2023). Photo (May 2024): Sekai Nippo

Norio Hosoya (細谷典男), a city council member from Toride City (取手市), Ibaraki Prefecture, who took the stage as one of the speakers, criticized the process behind the request for a dissolution order. He stated,

“The government’s approach of filing a request for a dissolution order based solely on one-sided claims cannot be considered democratic and has extremely strong totalitarian overtones.”

Featured image above: Masayuki Kudo (工藤雅之) speaking on 6th July 2024 in Sapporo about his experience of being abducted and held captive. Photo: Hajime Yuasa (湯朝肇)

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