Scandalous bias as Japanese authorities ask for info about private lives of members
7th September 2023 the Family Federation of Japan issued a press release in response to recent scandalous bias in media reports that the Federation had failed to report sufficiently and that the materials submitted “were scarce”.
The media did not mention that some of the questions from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) put the Family Federation in an impossible situation as it would be forced to disclose private matters from the lives of the members. That would indeed represent a serious infringement of human rights and religious freedom.
Sankei News reported that the Agency for Cultural Affairs, a special body of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), would order the Family Federation to pay a fine for not having responded properly. According to the Sankei article, it appears that the source of the scandalous bias may well be found within the Agency for Cultural Affairs itself.
The press release was written by the Family Federation’s public relations office.
Here is the text in English:
“View of the media on the Family Federation’s response to the ‘exercise of the right to question’ is insincere.
Currently, amid various media reports regarding the ‘exercise of the right of questions’ by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to this religious corporation [Family Federation], multiple media have stated that ‘at the beginning the Agency for Cultural Affairs received 8 cardboard boxes, but the amount gradually decreased to one envelope’, as if this corporation had responded insincerely. It must be said that such reporting is biased and arbitrarily twists the facts. We will explain in detail below.
First of all, it is clear that the ‘volume’ of responses cannot be used to determine whether or not we answered appropriately.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) initially required this corporation to submit a wide range of basic materials, but since the third ‘exercise of the right to ask questions’, more specific questions have come in. This is the primary reason why the volume of responses gradually decreased. As the questions were asked, the range of answers required became narrower, so it is natural that the overall volume of answers decreased.
In addition, it has been reported that this corporation‘s answers to the 4th and 5th ‘exercise of the right to ask questions’ are ‘one envelope’, but in reality, it was a ‘letter pack’ and contained about 100 pages of A4 size paper. It may not be wrong to report it as an ‘envelope’, but it gives the impression that this corporation is not answering properly. Similarly, for the sixth and seventh responses, what is reported as an ‘envelope’, is a ‘letter pack’).
On the other hand, TV Asahi’s information programs ‘Good! Morning’ (aired on 5th September) and ‘Morning Show’ (broadcast on 6th September) introduced comments from MEXT staff, saying, ‘Since there were many records and pamphlets about their victories in court cases, most of the answers did not have so much content.’
This is clearly an arbitrary way of picking up the story that gives the impression that we are not answering in good faith, and it misleads viewers.
We call on the press to report fairly based on facts.
Among the questions from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) were
(1) related to the privacy and religious freedom of believers,
(2) were clearly unrelated to civil law torts,
(3) repeated questions that had already been answered, and
(4) questions related to pending trials.
We, this corporation, have sincerely responded to the enormous number of questions and requests from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology by spending a huge amount of time and effort while sacrificing our regular operations. Nevertheless, the attitude of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) that this Corporation ‘does not answer questions appropriately’ is extremely regrettable.”
Featured image above: Toru Goto, member of the Family Federation, held captive for 12 years and 5 months by professional deprogrammers in league with activist lawyers, some of whom are now advisers to the Japanese government. Now Toru Goto and fellow members are suffering from a scandalous bias in the media, supported by the authorities. Photo from April 2023: FOREF
“Response to Scandalous Bias” – Introductory text: Knut Holdhus. Translation: Tiara Boysen