JAPAN: Husband and wife abducted and confined for the purpose of forced religious de-conversion
By Human Rights Without Frontiers
TOKYO, 11.09.2014 (HRWF) – On July 26th, 2014, two members of the Unification Church in Japan, Mr. and Mrs. S., both in their 40’s, were kidnapped by their respective relatives under the direction of an Evangelical Minister, Mamoru Takawaza, leaving their two children behind.
This is an additional case of abduction of religious minorities’ followers for the purpose of forced de-conversion in Japan. Families influenced by prejudice have resorted to Evangelical ministers over the last thirty years for advice on abducting and confining their over-age children to have them “persuaded” under constraint to recant their minority faith.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee during its sixth periodic review of Japan expressed concern, in its Concluding Observations released on 23rd July 2014, “at reports of abductions and forced confinement of converts to new religious movements by members of their families in an effort to de-convert them.” The Committee recommended that Japan “should take effective measures to guarantee the right of every person not to be subject to coercion which would impair his or her freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief” pursuant to Article 18.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In spite of the clear recommendation made by the Committee, the Japanese police did not put an end immediately to Mr. and Mrs. S.’s confinement when they were asked to take action to rescue them.