Scholars warning Japan that removing primary freedom of one minority will have huge implications for many more
Dr. Massimo Introvigne, leading sociologist of religion and Managing Director of Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), commented 31st January 2024 on the current witch hunt against the Family Federation in Japan. He spoke at a special luncheon that was part of the 4th International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington DC and said,
“We should understand three things.
First, it’s not about taxes. If the Family Federation is dissolved, it will not only lose its tax exemption. It will lose its places of worship, assets, everything. It will be a death sentence.
Second, it is not about the Family Federation only. Laws have been passed in Japan limiting the freedom of all religions to collect donations and pass the faith to their children. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are right now already under attack.
And third, this is not about Japan only. We have evidence of continuous contacts at the private and governmental level between Japan and France, which in these very days is trying to make its bad law against cults worse.
His comments came as he was part of a panel during the above-mentioned luncheon hosted by The Washington Times Foundation and the Universal Peace Federation.
More messages from the special luncheon:
Another champion of religious freedom on the panel was Dr. Jan Figel, former European Commission Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the EU. He commented on the situation in Japan,
“A year ago, it was not so easy to raise the Japanese issue. Now, it’s at a stage where many important people speak about it.
And I take your point [addressed to Charles Hurt, the moderator] on the totalitarian issue, because actually I lived half of my life under communism.
Communism used violence and lies to dominate and to get rid of it is not so easy.
But I see this pattern also in the Japanese case because the dissolution of the Unification Church has a history of half a century. There have been repeated calls for dissolution each decade from the Japan Communist Party and the leftist lawyers.
And we get to the point which is really very dangerous. Communists elsewhere during a century long history have showed a total animosity against religious freedom.
Because religious people are free people. They don’t obey any authority and therefore it is important to notice that similar, and of course huge, problems with religious freedom exist in the region – in North Korea, in China, and now Japan is at the crossroads.
It’s important that messages from here are given them because Japan is democratic and can use all democratic means to protect religious freedom for all.
And as you said, religious freedom is a primary freedom. I would add that religious freedom is a litmus test for all human rights, because if the freedom is not respected which is the innermost freedom, then freedom of thought, conscience and religion, spirituality, freedom of press, of opinion, of assembly, of association, surely, surely will also be limited or oppressed or violated.
Therefore, it is important that we discuss it today here, and that our appeal will be listened to in Tokyo and in Japan.”
Featured image above: Dr. Massimo Introvigne and Dr. Jan Figel speaking at a special luncheon 31st January 2024, that was part of the 4th International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington DC. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission.
More about warning Japan: Japan Censured at Religious Freedom Event
Yet more about warning Japan: Inhuman Government-Supported Mass Deprogramming
Still more about warning Japan: Scholar Condemns Violation of Minority Rights
Yet more about warning Japan: Japan Urged to Make U-Turn
Even more about warning Japan: Japan Following the Way of China
And still more about warning Japan: 12 Religious Freedom NGOs Denouncing Japan
And even more about warning Japan: Conference on Religious Freedom Violations
And yet more about warning Japan: Japan Copying Totalitarian Regimes
Still more about warning Japan: Japan: Threat to Religious Freedom
Even more about warning Japan: Call to End Witch Hunt