For over 40 years since 1966, kidnapping, confinement and forced conversion of members of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church) have been left unregulated in Japan, despite of the country’s democratic and constitutional nature. Victims of this crime/violation of human rights have totaled over 4300, still increasing in number to this day, with an addition of 10 more last year (2010).
Many of the victims suffer from traumatic experiences of being confined and forced to break their faiths, and have difficulty even sharing about it. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for these victims to appeal to the society individually about this issue in an effort to resolve the problem.
My (Toru Goto, Chairman) release on Feb. 10, 2008 from a shocking 12 years and 5 months’ confinement, brought about a heightened awareness and ripeness in time to terminate this crime. We felt it necessary for the victims to first come together, comfort and encourage one another, and then appeal to the society. This was the motivation for our organization, consisting of Unification Church victims of religious kidnapping and confinement, founded on January 8, 2010.
The purpose of our association is to expose the criminal activities of those who have instigated kidnapping and confinement, and to terminate forced conversion through these acts, thereby realizing a just society that guarantees the freedom of faith.
The following is a list of our main activities:
- *Preparing statements and petitions to submit to public institutions
- *Exposure and dissemination of information concerning kidnapping and confinement issues, using brochures and the internet
- *Protests against people who have taken part in the process of kidnapping, confinement, and forced conversion
- *Providing moral support through counseling sessions with other members and counselors
- *Supporting members to regain trust within their families
I hope that a deeper understanding of this issue will lead to more supporters who will stand up for our cause.
Japan Victims’ Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion Toru Goto, Representative