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Still Abductions, Confinement, and Faith-Breaking

Still abductions

There are still abductions of members who are then forcibly detained nine years after landmark Supreme Court victory 

Hanada February 2024
Caption of front page of Monthly Hanada February 2024.

Award-winning Japanese author and investigative journalist Masumi Fukuda has written an in-depth report titled “Dissolve the Anti-Cult Lawyer Group, Not the Unification Church.” She has discovered that a group of leftwing activist lawyers have specialized in fabricating false “victims”.

Bitter Winter exposing forcible detentionIn a series of four articles, Bitter Winter, the online magazine for human rights and religious freedom, has published her report originally written in Japanese and published by the magazine Monthly Hanada in its February 2024 issue.

On 31st January 2024, Bitter Winter published the 4th of its four articles in English. It was headlined “Deprogrammed, Then Compelled to Sue’”.

On part 1part 2part 3, part 4a of Masumi Fukuda’s report.

Toru Goto in 2008
Toru Goto (後藤徹) in 2008 barely able to move after being held in forcible detention by faith-breakers for more than 12 years. Photo: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

In this final part, the investigative journalist exposes that cases of abduction, forcible detention and faith-breaking still persist, nine years after the successful civil trial in 2015 of Toru Goto, a member of the Family Federation (FFWPU). Goto’s victory in the Supreme Court of Japan after having gone through the horrendous ordeal of being kidnapped, locked up for an incredible 12 years and 5 months and exposed to cruel faith-breaking sessions, marked a significant milestone in the legal battle against the evils of abduction, confinement, and deprogramming. Since 2015, reported incidents of such nature have dwindled. Nonetheless, there are still sporadic cases of abduction targeting second-generation believers. That underscores the ongoing challenge in completely eliminating this issue.

One such incident involved a 25-year-old male believer in Shizuoka Prefecture, who, despite not being a second-generation believer himself, found himself confined by his family for a month starting 31st December 2020. His journey into the Family Federation began during his university years when he was introduced to it through an affiliated student organization called “World CARP Japan”. He became a member of it and also joined the Family Federation later.

He recalls,

“I developed a desire to learn about God through the Divine Principle. I informed my parents about joining the CARP during my third year of university, but they seemed worried. To reassure them, I had both my parents participate in a CARP Parents’ Meeting and arranged for them to have a meeting with the responsible person to help them understand that it was not a bad organization.”

He had countless positive experiences with CARP members and was genuinely interested in exploring spirituality, but then something really strange and unexpected happened. Fukuda writes,

“However, on New Year’s Eve in 2020, when he returned home, he encountered a strange situation. In the evening, his uncle and aunt visited, stating, ‘We want to discuss your future with relatives.’ Six people, including his parents and brother, gathered for a discussion. At that moment, his brother said, ‘We want to talk without any interference. Please give us your mobile phones.’ Hearing stories from CARP leaders about many believers being abducted and forced to resign in the past, he felt uneasy. However, he never expected to be confined at home. For the time being, he handed over his two mobile phones to his brother.”

Unopenable window
Device making it impossible to open window. Photo: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion.

He found that special locking devices had been installed on windows and doors throughout the house. The young student found himself in a situation of being completely confined, as if in a prison. He asked his parents why they were doing this to him and begged them to let him out, but they refused, saying they wanted to keep him there until they “understood him”.

Despite his pleas to understand the situation and his attempts to reach out for help through a pre-arranged “rescue request letter” with CARP, his confinement persisted.

“On January 7, CARP staff came, and on January 11, a FFWPU lawyer visited the house. However, the man was inside the locked room and could not answer the intercom, so the rescue was unsuccessful. In both instances, the family called the police immediately after the rescuers arrived, and the police questioned the young man. But the police sided with the family, and even when the man told the police he was being ‘confined’, they did not listen.”

The young man was desperate to find a way out. He discovered that an upstairs bathroom window had neither a lock nor bars on the outside. On 30th January 2021, he managed to remove the glass and could climb out, descend to the ground by clinging to a pipe, and getting a taxi to Tokyo.

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

Masumi Fukuda writes that he still cannot trust his parents and has cut the relationship to them. The forcible detention destroyed it.

The catalyst for his confinement stemmed from his mother’s exposure to literature critical of the Family Federation, particularly a book by lawyer Masaki Gouro associated with the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales (NNLASS). This book purportedly justified parental actions of confinement under Article 35 of the Penal Code, sparking the mother’s belief that such measures were permissible.

However, legal experts contest Gouro’s interpretation, highlighting the flawed legal basis for justifying abduction and confinement. Despite the legal ambiguity, the prevalence of abduction, confinement, and deprogramming of members of the Family Federation remains a pressing issue.

The investigative journalist writes,

“The deprogrammed ex-believers, mass-produced through abduction and confinement, are now placed on another conveyor belt to be fabricated as ‘victims’ of the church, and they are reconfigured into apostates to attack the church. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whether knowingly or unknowingly, or pretending not knowing, chose to maximize the use of these testimonies, pushing the UC [Unification Church, now called the Family Federation] to the brink.”

Furthermore, the manipulation of deprogrammed ex-believers to vilify the Family Federation underscores the insidious agenda of deprogrammers and NNLASS. This deliberate exploitation of testimonies to undermine the Family Federation‘s credibility has prompted calls for the dissolution of NNLASS, which is perceived as a malicious and persistent force perpetuating harm.

Fukuda puts it like this,

“The deprogrammers and NNLASS, who devised this scheme, are truly cunning. Therefore, this lawyers’ organization fully meets the three criteria of organization, maliciousness, and continuity requested for dissolution. Indeed, there is an organization worthy of dissolution. It is the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales.

Featured image above: Illustration of a member of the Family Federation  being forcibly detained by his parents and relatives. Illustration: Japanese Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion

On part 1part 2part 3, part 4a of Masumi Fukuda’s report.

“Still Abductions, Confinement, and Faith-Breaking” – text: Knut Holdhus

More about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: In the Clutches of Abusive Deprogrammers

Still more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Father Tricked by Deprogrammers to Kidnap Son

Yet more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Press Release about Media Attacks

Even more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Kidnapping Victim Sues Activist Journalist

And still more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Lawyers Manipulating, Coercing, Lying

And yet more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Illegalities of Activist Lawyers Exposed

And even more about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Japan: 4300 Abductions and Forcible Detentions

More about it: Still abductions, confinement and faith-breaking: Religious Freedom Violated in Japan

 

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