JAPAN: Faith-breakers’ Tactics Revealed in First-hand Account
The womans’s name is being withheld to protect the Unification Church of Japan from lawsuits which could be launched by her family, and by anti-Unificationist lawyers who have a history of suing the Unification Church for millions of dollars. Although kidnapping and forced deprogramming is not as common now as it was in the 1990’s, more than a dozen cases take place each year, according to Japanese Church leaders. Unfortunately, in this case, the forced exit from the church was successful; the lady will likely be missed dearly by fellow church members. This case raises the question of what exactly could have taken place in the month she was missing that would cause such a devoted member to lose her faith.
Mr. Toru Goto, the best-known victim of abduction and confinement by paid, forced-conversion experts, was held against his will from 1995 till 2008. Mr. Goto in July presented one of several legal depositions regarding his 12-and-a-half year captivity to the Tokyo District Court, giving a vivid description of the psychological harassment that a confined person has to endure in order to keep one’s faith.
In the course of Mr. Goto’s lawsuit against the men who tried to rob him of his faith, he described the inhumane tactics used by “professional deprogrammers” to force members of the Unification Church to recant their faith. These same tactics may have been the ones used to convince the above-mentioned sister to leave the Church in July.
Below is Mr. Goto’s deposition to the Tokyo District Court of the abuse he received while being held captive [See http://religiousfreedomnews.blogspot.com/%5D.
Goto’s Deposition In Court
“While I was confined in the apartment, they even didn’t tell me where we were. The transfer to another apartment was carried out at night, so it was difficult to identify where it was. At first, when I was taken to the Ogikubo Flower Home, I had no idea where I was. I asked my brother [who was assisting the deprogramming], but he refused to tell me where it was, saying, ‘You don’t need to know.’
While confined, I did learn that the Ogikubo Flower Home was in Ogikubo 3-Chome, because I heard a voice over a loudspeaker during the general election of the House of Representatives in 2003. I heard the loudspeaker saying ‘Hello, people in Ogikubo 3-Chome, this is Nobuaki Ishihara.’ I now know the names and addresses of the three apartments in which I was confined, because policemen and prosecutors informed me of such details after I lodged a criminal complaint against the captors.
“As mentioned before, my brother was employed by Takeshi Miyamura’s TAP Co Ltd* after he left the Unification Church. He was assisting Miyamura with his deprogramming work as a former church member. I expected Miyamura would show up to the new apartment soon and recalled the suffering I experienced while confined at the Keio Plaza Hotel in 1987. Back then, Miyamura even appeared in my dreams and made me suffer. [*TAP Co Ltd = the company Miyamura owned.]
“As expected, from early January 1998 to September 1998, Miyamura accompanied former Unification Church members and visited my room – 804 – and attempted to force me to abandon my faith. At first, Miyamura visited the room almost daily and stayed from 6 to 8 PM. With him were six former church members and one of his male employees. This employee was hiding in the garden and assisted the captors with my abduction and confinement when I was taken to Niigata on September 11, 1995.
“A total of 7 to 12 people, consisting of Miyamura, family members, and former Unification Church members, would gather in the far back room and fling words of criticism, defamation and abuse at me. When Miyamura visited me in the room for the first time, he said, ‘Toru, it’s been long time since last time.’ I said, ‘You come here unexpectedly all of sudden,’ to which Miyamura replied, ‘If I don’t come in a hurry, you run away.’ Miyamura’s comment was to announce that he had confined me.
“When one former church sister visited the room, she would sit cross-legged in an impolite manner and smoked.
She would criticize me harshly for my last escape, saying, ‘You are a coward; you ran away last time, didn’t you?’ I got angry about the inhumane treatment, confinement, and unbearable criminal actions and fiercely protested to Miyamura, who showed no trace of conscience. I would say, ‘Get me out of here! You say the Unification Church violates human rights, but the Church never abducts and detains people! You are violating human rights! What do you think of freedom of religion?’
“Miyamura said, ‘Don’t bluster; you are not qualified to claim your own human rights. I’m not confining you – your family members are protecting you. If you want to get out, tell your family. You are not listening to people at all. Use your brains, think with your head.’ He taunted me, saying, ‘Unless you begin to think with your head, you can’t get out.’ He also tried to force me to leave the church by threatening me, saying, ‘If your children don’t leave the Unification Church, I will make a private prison and hold them until their faith is broken.’ Miyamura and the former church sister continued to insult me by frequently using words such as ‘idiot’ or ‘stupid.’
“Miyamura threatened me by saying, ‘If Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah and the Divine Principle is true, I will commit seppuku [suicide by disembowelment ]. However, if Sun Myung Moon is fake and the Divine Principle is not true, are you ready to do hara-kiri? Explain how the Divine Principle is true.’ He criticized the Divine Principle, which explains the church doctrine and the book God’s Will and the World, which consists of Rev. Moon’s speeches. Then he taunted me, saying, ‘The fact that you still believe in such things is proof that you are still mind-controlled.’
“Miyamura also said that Rev. Moon had sex relays called ‘chiwake’ during the early stage of the church. He said hearsay without proof, ‘Why does Sun Myung Moon like women so much? The number of women he slept with is uncountable.’ Miyamura forced me to listen to him, against my will, and it caused me tremendous psychological suffering.
“I said, ‘Then let me go back to the church to investigate. Let me out of here.’ Miyamura refused flatly: ‘No, you can’t go. The Unification Church tells lies. Even if you go back, you will never find the truth.’ In the apartment, though, I couldn’t get the information I wanted to know. I lamented that this apartment was a lawless area – no law protected me there. I was in an unjust environment in which my freedom was deprived through confinement. My faith was fiercely criticized and the criticism wore me out.
“Miyamura often brought up my father’s death and accused me, saying, ‘You killed your father. What would you do in my shoes?’ I was furious and replied to the unreasonable accusation by shouting, ‘You have to take me to the police if you think I killed him! Take me now!’
Pain and Suffering
“The former Unification Church members with Miyamura also got around him and yelled at me. A female former member once picked up a teacup and poured green tea on me.
“My family members also joined Miyamura’s forcible conversion work. One time my brother stood up suddenly during a session and screamed at me, ‘I want to beat you within an inch of death.’ My younger sister threatened me, ‘You’ve got to be prepared to live like this for the rest of your life if you don’t change.’
“After Miyamura left, my family members continued to condemn me until around 9 PM. One time my brother slapped me saying, ‘Why can’t you understand? Wake up!’
“I would do stretching exercises to change mood and to avoid lack of movement. My brother’s wife angrily said to me once, ‘How can you do such things in this situation?’ I wondered why she was so upset with such things, and it disturbed me.
“In this way, extremely difficult days under confinement continued with abusive words, yelling, and violence as attempts to forcibly convert me. Daily challenges to my dignity were made by Miyamura and my family members. I was exhausted mentally and physically at the end of each day. In despair, I pictured that same thing continuing day after day, and I feared that I would become mentally deranged.
“Miyamura and my family members used to say to me, ‘You are not listening to us! Think with your head!’ I heard these words more than 100 times during my confinement. I replied, ‘I am listening to you and thinking with my head.’ They didn’t accept my words, replying, ‘No, you are not listening; you are not thinking.’
“‘Not listening’ in their context meant, ‘You don’t intend to accept our criticism of the Unification Church.’ ‘Think with your head,’ meant, ‘Admit the wrongness of the faith in the Unification Church.’ ‘You won’t be released unless you accept our criticism of the Church and abandon your faith.’ This was their unchangeable claim.
“My brother often said to me, ‘I’m not telling you to quit the church. As your family member, I can’t leave you involved with such a controversial church. Therefore, I want you to be in a neutral position and think with your head. You have no time to think thoroughly if you are in the Church. If you still say the Divine Principle is true, you have an obligation to explain to us why the church has so many problems.’
“I opposed him, saying, ‘It doesn’t make sense to be neutral – to think while I’m forced to be in confinement. The Japanese Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. This is abduction, confinement, and forced conversion.’ My brother replied, ‘This is not abduction, nor confinement; this is an emergency protection shelter.’ I said, ‘That’s not true. If it is, let me go.’ I then tried to get out of the room, but he caught me, and we got into a scuffle.
“‘Look! You don’t let me go. What is this if not confinement? If you insist this is protection, you are lying. Even done by family members, this is abduction and confinement. It is criminal. You will be criminals if I file complaints. I don’t want you to become criminals. You have to let me out of here.’ My brother shouted, ‘What other option do we have?! Tell me!’
“Soon after Miyamura and his supporters started to visit the apartment, influenza spread like wildfire. Some of my family members, including me, suffered from the flu. I had a fever of nearly 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), but my captors did not take me to a doctor. I was given medication that was prescribed for my family members, who saw a doctor. While I suffered from influenza, Miyamura did not come for fear of contracting the virus. My brother said, “We have a short break.”
As soon as I recovered from the flu, Miyamura started to visit the apartment again, and harsh and forcible conversion work resumed. While I was struggling with high fever, I felt frustrated with my captors not letting me see a doctor. I was frightened to imagine, ‘If I become more seriously ill, they will not take me to a doctor and, in the worst case scenario, I may die.’
Miyamura’s Words on Deprogramming
“The deprogramming work done after I was transferred to Ogikubo was under the instruction of Miyamura, who authored an article in a book titled What Parents Must Know, which was published by Inochi No Kotaba Sha (Word of Life Press Ministries) on April 1, 1997. In the following year (1998), I started to receive Miyamura’s deprogramming in confinement in the Ogikubo Flower Home.
Here is what Miyamura says in the book.
“According to Miyamura, Unification Church members are ‘mind-controlled,’ and it is ‘very dangerous’ for family and relatives to judge the members’ situations, which are probably at a stage which is ‘more than the family members can handle.’ In order to solve the child’s problem (make them leave the Church), parents have to find a ‘reliable counselor’ and trust the counselor. That’s the only way.
“A ‘reliable counselor’ means Miyamura himself. My family asked Pastor Matsunaga in Niigata to convert me during the second abduction and confinement, though it is clear that Miyamura was involved, as my brother and one of TAP’s employees were part of the abduction team. Pastor Matsunaga failed to convert me over the 2-year confinement, after which my family asked Miyamura himself to deprogram me due to my father’s death.”
Contributed by Michael La Hogue