TOKYO, (August 13, 2010) – The highest levels of the Japanese government are complicit in religious freedom and human rights abuses, according to recent testimony of Toru Goto, a Unification Church believer who was kidnapped and held against his will for 12 years in Japan.
According to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Mr. Goto has filed a lawsuit against members of his family, alleging kidnapping and torture, which left him confined for 12 years, deprived of food and proper nutrition and psychologically tortured in an attempt to make him renounce his personal faith.
In a letter addressed to the Diet of Japan and the Commissioners Reviewing the case of Mr. Goto, Rev. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray wrote, “I am very deeply concerned and dismayed to see that those who imprisoned Mr. Toru Goto are not being held accountable and that his case was simply dropped last December.”
Rev. Murray is Pastor Retired at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics, Center for Religion, USC.
Over the past 40 years, thousands of followers of the Unification Church have been submitted to human rights abuses outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and signed by Japan.
Rev. Murray’s letter notes, “It has been brought to my attention that there are currently five Japanese citizens being held against their will: ages 60, 35, 30, 26 and 22. Reportedly, one of these was just captured during this past month of March.”
Mr. Goto has filed a petition with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution attached to the Tokyo District Court to reconsider his case after it was dismissed earlier this year. The Commission is expected to announce findings in the near future.
In a speech directed at religious freedom and human rights, United States President Barack Obama stated, “People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it’s being challenged in many different ways.”
Organizations throughout America and Europe dedicated to religious freedom and human rights are closely watching Mr. Goto’s legal complaint in Japan. Many are calling for the Japanese government to issue a formal apology for 40 years of neglect and shame.