Religious leader’s undercover study reveals problems were removed more than 10 years ago
2nd part of article by Haruhisa Nakagawa titled “After the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe due to misinformation, an unreasonable dissolution request will be made”, originally published 22nd Sep. 2023 by salty-japan.net. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article. See 1st part, 3rd part
Haruhisa Nakagawa is Executive Secretary of Tokyo Christian Theological Institute, President of Japan Christian Theological Institute, and SALTY Editorial Committee Member. SALTY is the Japanese Christian opinion website salty-japan.net. He conducted an undercover investigation of the Unification Church in 2012.
Past and Present: “Half a truth is also half a lie.”
Of course, it is true that in the past, the Unification Church caused quite a few social problems. What has come to light from its history, is that in the past, the Unification Church kept university students and others in “specific facilities and accommodations” as part of the church’s “training”. The parents were not allowed to see them, no matter how the parents approached the church.
It is true that there were many problems, such as stories about selling certain products. It was called “spiritual marketing” (spiritual sales), which caused a lot of social backlash. Even among my own relatives, there is a person who was persuaded to purchase a personal seal for 100,000 yen about 30 years ago. She says she ended up making the purchase contract, thinking, “They are so persistent, so I give in!” At that time, she was barely making ends meet. She threw away the personal seal in frustration when she moved. Such memories leave a strong impression.
Therefore, the Unification Church‘s past excesses will continue to haunt it in the future. Especially in the Christian community, which was in a position to receive such debates and damage reports in the form of heresy and cult reports, almost everyone is bound to be against the Unification Church. There is even strong hatred there.
On the other hand, the Christian community itself also faces many problems. It can’t claim to be superior in any way. Looking back, I myself have caused many people to feel distrust towards our faith in the church of Christ. Being an imperfect human being, I have made numerous mistakes, and as a result, I have caused hardships for others. That’s why I want to make improvements and for others who do so, I want to give them the chance, the opportunity and recognition for their hard work.
And that’s when the words of Hans Küng come back to me: “Half a truth is also half a lie.” How important those words are right now! Will we continue to proclaim “half the truth”, which is actually “half a lie”? Or will we evaluate things by looking at the parts that were previously unseen?
So, I would like to take a moment to focus on the unseen part, “the other half of the truth”.
The other half of the truth １– Improvements Since the Declaration of Compliance
In his book “No Reasons to Request the Dissolution of the Family Federation” (家庭連合に、解散請求の要件なし – Kogensha), attorney Tatsuki Nakayama (中山達樹), who stands on the side of the Unification Church, reports the following:
“It cannot be said that the Family Federation ‘continuously’ does bad things. Since the 2009 Declaration of Compliance, the number of civil court cases in which the Family Federation was the defendant, has decreased drastically. In particular, it should be noted that not a single civil court has received a complaint about donations during the last seven years.
Compared to the period before and after the 2009 Declaration of Compliance, the number of donation trials has plummeted to about one-fortieth. In terms of amount of employer liability cases lost, 99.7 % was for actions before the Declaration of Compliance. After the 2009 Declaration of Compliance, the number of lost cases plummeted to about 1/300 or 0.33%.
In this way, it should not be possible to vehemently attack the Family Federation for ‘continuous malpractice’. It has set up a new donation system after the 2009 Declaration of Compliance, drastically reduced the number of donation trials to 1/40 and the number of lost lawsuits to about 1/300, and has not been subjected to any civil or criminal trials in the past ten years or so.” (p.25）
The Unification Church has worked on reforms since it announced its Declaration of Compliance in 2009. Even from my anti-perspective, this is an undeniable and verifiable fact that is reflected in the numbers. I personally had some of my doubts resolved when I conducted an undercover investigation into the Unification Church in 2012, and since then, I am well aware that problems related to the Unification Church have diminished. That’s no wonder because, especially after the Declaration of Compliance there were hardly any noticeable social problems associated with the church.
In other words, the parts that caused the Unification Church to be diagnosed as a “cult”, were removed more than a decade ago. The Unification Church already fits into the framework of a religion. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to dismiss it as a “cult” and, considering the passage of time, it could even be regarded as insulting.
Certainly, a religion can be mysterious for those who don’t belong to it. This may seem especially true when it comes to the fear of evil spirits and curses, and the behavior patterns used to avoid them. However, religion, in general, tends to involve such aspects.
The Unification Church may still have many issues to address. Nevertheless, if for more than ten years, improvements have been made, and the results are evident in the numbers, it’s reasonable to have hope for further improvements.
I too have spoken ill of the Unification Church countless times. However, despite the limitations as an organization, the Unification Church has made efforts towards improvements and the results are evident in the numbers. Therefore, I must respond with sincerity to this.
Once again, I would like to use this opportunity to apologize and correct my previous mistake of identifying the Unification Church as a “cult” during the past 14 years since the 2009 Declaration of Compliance.
I am sure that most people lacked awareness of this part of the Unification Church issue, as it did not even reach the attention of me, with my vigilant eye. We need to take a closer look at the progress made during the 14 years since the Declaration of Compliance.”
“Undercover Study Found Allegations Untrue” – text Haruhisa Nakagawa
See also: Lawyers Manipulating, Coercing, Lying
See also Pure Activism in Japanese Media
See also Heavily Biased Japanese Reporting