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Serious Misleading Changes by Lawyers Exposed

Mamoru Kamono on misleading changes

Journalist exposing lawyers making serious misleading changes in their campaign against religious minority

by Mamoru Kamono, journalist. Originally published as part of an 8-page report in the May 2024 issue of Monthly Hanada, a Japanese magazine. Republished with permission.

Exaggerated amount of damages

On 11th July 2022, right after the shooting incident, the president of the Family Federation, Tomihiro Tanaka (田中富広), held a press conference. The following day, on 12th July, the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales (全国弁連が) held a press conference attacking the Family Federation. Looking back over these two and a half years, it was this press conference that significantly determined the direction of the media coverage and public opinion.

Yasuo Kawai
Yasuo Kawai (川井康雄), the secretary-general of NNLASS. Photo: Bitter Winter / screenshot

At the press conference of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales on that day, it was stated, “The financial damage from 1987 to last year, over approximately 35 years, exceeds a total of 123.7 billion yen.” Yasuo Kawai (川井康雄), the secretary-general who explained this, said,

“This is only the damage we are aware of, so it’s just the tip of the iceberg, but such enormous damage has occurred.”

Masaki Kito
Masaki Kito (紀藤正樹), leading activist leftwing lawyer of NNLASS. Photo: Bitter Winter / screenshot

Attorney Masaki Kito (紀藤正樹), who attended, said, “’I would like you to focus on this issue, that is, on the great evil, and that we must not leave a great evil in Japan, including the fact that this great evil must be made to pay for its sins. I would like you to look into the issue of the Unification Church.”

Attorney Masaki Gouro (郷路征記) also stated, “As far as our work is concerned, the Unification Church is 100% evil, and the mother of the suspect Yamagami, as far as her relationship with the Unification Church is concerned, is also 100% a victim.”

The methods of so-called anti-cult organizations typically involve labeling the target as a “cult” and “reversing the roles of victims and perpetrators”. That is a common tactic when religious organizations are targeted, especially when large donations are questioned, as pointed out by sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne.

The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales made full use of such traditional methods.

On 26th July 2022, Attorney Masaki Kito suggested during a meeting of the Japanese Communist Party’s parliamentary group,

“The total amount of damages, 123.7 billion yen, is just a part of the total damages. Generally, if consumer consultation services are functioning properly, about one-tenth appears in statistics. If they are not functioning well, it is said to be one-hundredth.”

He implied that there might have been damages exceeding one trillion yen in the past. Furthermore, he stated,

Shimbun Akahata logo
Logo of Shimbun Akahata

“If we assume the number of consultations is ten times higher, there would be 340,000 cases of damage. Considering that there are families around these victims, if we further multiply by 3 or 4, easily over a million victims may have been silently buried in the past.” (From Shimbun Akahata (Red Flag), 21st July 2022)

The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales continued to make announcements as if the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification were the mastermind behind a massive economic fraud case.

Numbers filled with falsehoods

However, in the past two years, the only ones who came forward on TV to claim “damage” were former second-generation believers, Ms. Saruri Furukawa (古川さるり – pseudonym), and Mr. Tatsuo Hashida (橋田達夫) from Shikoku (四国). Neither of them were “victims” of large donations. Nevertheless, one after another, individuals identifying themselves as former believers appeared, and the “damage” was exaggerated endlessly and sensationalized.

The media attacked the Family Federation as “anti-Japanese” and “anti-social,” and reported that members of the Liberal Democratic Party had a “deep” relationship with such organizations. Prime Minister Kishida was surprised by the false image of “the Family Federation = great evil” created by National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales and the media. He hurriedly declared a “severance of ties” at the end of August 2022.

However, the numbers announced by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales were filled with falsehoods. The reasons are listed below.

  1. the “amount of damage” is the “amount of damage consultation”. As non-fiction writer Masumi Fukuda points out, the “amount of damage” referred to by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales was actually the “amount of damage consultation”.
  2. Treating the “number of incidents” as if it were the number of people. The number of incidents was dressed up as if it were the number of “victims”, making the “damage” appear larger. For example, if one person purchased 10 items, the number of incidents was counted as 10. The actual number of people who consulted would drastically decrease to one-fifth or one-tenth of the announced number.
  3. Most of the “damage” has been resolved. In response to the consultations that have been made so far, the congregation and the religious organization responded sincerely, and many were resolved through discussions. Also, some were settled in court. As of now, there is no such thing as “huge damage” that actually exists.
MEXT becoming organ of abusive state
Symbol of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. Photo: 文部科学省 (MEXT Japan) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 4.0 Int

In fact, last October, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced the “scale of damage” caused by the Family Federation since 1980 as about 1,600 cases, with an amount of about 22.6 billion yen. The numbers claimed by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales had been inflated to about 20 times the number of cases and about six times the amount.

Moreover, the religious organization stated, “The ‘scale of damage’ announced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology also includes a large number of amounts settled through negotiations, and is far from the actual situation of ‘damage’.”

Fraudulent Methods of the National Network of Lawyers

Masumi Fukuda, investigative journalist
Masumi Fukuda speaking in Tokyo 20th Jan. 2024. Photo: Screenshot

As nonfiction writer Masumi Fukuda has pointed out in this magazine, the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales is a left-wing group of lawyers that has been operating with a clear political intention to destroy the former Unification Church, which has been engaged in anti-communist activities such as the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC).

However, the director of the Religious Affairs Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, which oversees religious organizations, answered at the “Unification Church” national hearing centered on the Constitutional Democratic Party on 4th September last year, “We are working with the lawyers of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales and collecting evidence to see if it meets the strict requirements for dissolution based on the information about the former Unification Church.”

It is extremely difficult to expect a fair and neutral judgment from the Agency for Cultural Affairs under these circumstances.

Here, one noteworthy event occurred.

On 5th October last year, when it seemed certain that an order to dissolve the Family Federation would be issued hastily, the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales made a serious correction to the number “34,537 cases, total damage amount of 123,733,575,406 yen”, which had been displayed as the total of the separate damage tally since 1987.

In other words, they changed what had been written as “number of cases” to “number of consultations”. Furthermore, for the first time, they added the following “annotation” outside the table:

“The figures are a tally of the numbers consulted in the respective year. For example, the tally for 2021 is a tally of the number of consultations and the amount of damage that occurred in the same year, not a yearly tally of the actual damage incurred.”

Fumio Kishida
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivering a speech at the COP26 in November 2021. Photo: 首相官邸ホームページ / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC Attr 4.0 Int. Cropped

If this can not be called a fraudulent method, what can? The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales misleading Prime Minister Kishida and misleading the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology into hastily ordering the dissolution of a religious organization is extremely serious.

The Family Federation and the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC) have been fighting God-denying communism head-on for half a century, and have stopped the movement toward communism. Therefore, the religious group and associated organizations, including the International Federation for Victory over Communism (IFVOC), have been viewed as enemies by leftist forces and have been subjected to slander and defamation in various situations.

“Serious Misleading Changes by Lawyers Exposed” – text: Mamoru Kamono

Mamoru Kamono was born 1955 in Toyama Prefecture. Graduated from the Faculty of Education, Kanazawa University. Journalist. Works mainly on educational issues, war and biographies. Author of several books.

Featured image above: Mamoru Kamono, journalist. Photo: Private. Published with permission.

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