Voices of Victims
Head of the Sugamo Police
April 2nd, 2008
I was born on November 2nd 1963 as the second son in Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture. In April 1983, I was enrolled to the Construction Department, Science and Engineering Faculty, Nippon University, from which I graduated in March 1987. In April the same year, I was employed by the Taisei Corporation.
２．Joining the Unification Church
In August 1986, at the fourth year of the university, I was introduced the Unification Church by my elder brother and its member, Takashi. Later, my sister Masako also joined the church.
３．The first confinement
Around May 1987, upon returning home in Nishi-Tokyo City, my brother was confined by my family. He was pressed to leave the Unification Church by Takeshi MIYAMURA who managed an advertisement agency called TAP Co., Ltd. Those days, Miyamura collaborated with Pastor Satoshi MORIYAMA of the Ogikubo Eikou Church, which belongs to the United Church of Christ in Japan, to meet parents' requests for deprogramming their children away from the Unification Church with Moriyama's church as a base. The parents were organized by Moriyama into an association called 'Suikeikai', in which those parents who had succeeded in deprogramming their children were supposed to help other parents do the same to their children. My brother, after quitting the Unification Church, began working at the TAP run by Miyamura and assisted his works. In October 1987, I was called by my brother to come to a room at the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo. Awaiting me inside were my parents and brother, who tried to persuade me to leave the church. I noticed that the room's entrance door was fixed with a special apparatus so that I could not get out. Infuriated by the confinement, I struggled with my brother and parents, who eventually overpowered me. Subsequently, Miyamura began to bring several former UC members to the room in order to press me away from the faith. About a week later, I was taken from the hotel to an apartment room in Ogikubo, Suginami Ward, Tokyo. Convinced of no way out, I faked my renunciation of the UC faith and waited for a chance to escape. In the latter days of November, when I was escorted by my parents and brother to a Sunday Service at the Ogikubo Eikou Church, I pretended to go to a toilet and escaped. I returned to the Unification Church.
４．After the escape
Afraid of another confinement attempt, I resigned from the Taisei Corporation and devoted myself to the church activities.
Around the end of 1988, my younger sister was abducted by the parents and the brother. She later left the church. In 1991, my brother sued for damages at the Tokyo District Court against the Unification Church (the so-called 'Return my Youth’ trial). He received the financial compensation from the Unification Church.
In August 1992, I participated in the 30,000 couples' International Blessing Marriage Ceremony held in Seoul, South Korea, with Miss Yukiko Soga. But she was confined later by her family and left the church.
Around 1993, my brother got married to Miss Yoko Hoshino, who was one of the former UC members deprogrammed by Miyamura and Pastor Yasutomo MATSUNAGA of the Niitsu Evangelical Church, Japan Alliance Christ Church. She also lodged a complaint for 'Return My Youth' trial and received some compensation later.
In August 1995, I attended the 360,000 couples' International Marriage Blessing Ceremony with Miss. K.S.
５．The second confinement
- Confined in an apartment in Niigata
In the evening of September 11th 1995, upon returning home in Nishi-Tokyo City, I was forcibly taken into a wagon-type vehicle, flanked by my parents, brother as well as an unknown man hiding in the garden. That stranger drove the wagon car to Niigata with my parents and myself riding inside. On the way, when the nature called me, they obliged me to use a vinyl portable tool, not allowing to go to a toilet.
The room in Niigata was tightly locked with all the windows fixed with stoppers and the entrance door locked from within. My parents, sister and brother's wife constantly stood on guard on me, pressuring me to renounce the faith. My brother said, "We shall never compromise until this is done! We will have it out by any means!" Also Pastor Matsunaga visited me several times to persuade me out of the church.
Towards the end of December 1995, I submitted, in fakery, a written renunciation of faith. But they would not trust me as I had done the similar fake tactic during the first confinement back in 1987. Thus, they would not discontinue the confinement.
On June 22nd 1997, my father passed away from cancer at the age of 65.
- Confined in an apartment (first) in Tokyo
Right after my father's demise, I was allowed to see his remains at his house in Nishi-Tokyo City. Then, I was put into an apartment room on the 3rd (or 4th?) floor in Tokyo. Its entrance door was locked from within with a special key. Also no possibility to get out through the windows!
- Confined in an apartment (second) in Tokyo
Towards the end of December 1997, I was taken by a wagon car to another apartment called Ogikubo Flower Home room No. 804 by my mother, brother's couple, sister and the unknown man. Its entrance door was locked tightly from inside with chains and a padlock. All the windows were locked by special methods. The room was guarded by my mother, brother, sister and the brother's wife.
As there was no change in my confinement, I got impatient after two years of pretending to have lost faith in the Unification Church. I could not contain my mind any longer and declared, right after being confined in the room No.804, that I had never lost faith. My family blamed me on my fake. I protested, in reply, that their confinement and forced conversion were illegal and tantamount to human rights violation.
Subsequently, I dashed to the entrance in a futile exit attempt, only to be restrained by my brother.
- Miyamura's deprogramming attempts
Between early January 1998 and September the same year, Miyamura brought former UC members to the room No.804 and pressed me to leave the church. Miyamura said, "It is not I but your family that is confining you. If you want out, tell your family members!" My brother at one point shouted at me, saying, "If I could, I would have done a job on you to the brink of death!" My sister threatened me: "If you don't change, you shall remain this way for the rest of your life!"
When several family members including myself were infected with influenza, I was not permitted to visit a clinic. Instead, they gave me some of their medicines.
Miyamura's visits became gradually less and less until September 1998 when he stopped coming quite some time. Only the former UC members saw me those days. My record indicates Miyamura's visits as many as 73 times until September 1998.
Around January 2000, they started to provide me with newspaper but stopped it by June the same year.
In February the same year, feeling doomed with strong sense of dejection, I got so desperate that I could not help attempting to escape even by dashing towards the entrance, only to be contained by the family. I used to shout at them, saying, "Call the police!" or "I shall sue you through a lawyer!" Then, the family rolled me in with futon and forcibly closed my mouth. I was unable to breathe and almost choked off at some points. While struggling with them, I had my right annular finger's bone twisted and its pains lasted for a couple of months.
After several escape attempts that ended up in failure and tighter guard, I was overwhelmed by dejection and hopelessness for a forcible escape.
- First Hunger Strike, 21 days
In April 2004, I began a 21-day hunger strike to protest the prolonged confinement. Around those days until September, my brother's wife repeatedly hit my face with her bare palm. But apparently she damaged her palm and put compress on her right thumb for quite a while. In the latter half of the hunger strike, I could barely stand or go to toilet on my feet.
- Second Hunger Strike, 21 days
In April 2005, facing a rejection to my request for Korean language learning materials, I dared to enter the second 21-day hunger strike. After the fasting was over, however, they would provide me with only meager foods over the next seven months.
While in detention, I developed athletic foot. At first, they gave me some medicines but stopped since 2006 even if I solicited. As a result, my right foot thumb's nail got disfigured.
- Third Hunger Strike, 30 days
In April 2006, when they refused to comply with my request for a notebook, I began the third hunger strike lasting for 30 days. After the period was over, however, they would not provide me with foods. Only after my solicitation, they complied and offered rice water and thinned sports drink. Such liquid foods continued for seventy days that I became awfully skinny like someone about to die out of hunger. I had to steal some raw rice, soaked in water before cooking, just to survive the deprivation.
In early July the same year, I pleaded for the normal meals, but they served only rice water for the next four months before returning to normal foods. In September the same year, as the brother's wife took away the cable connected to the television antenna, I could not watch either TV or video.
- Release from the confinement
Around November 2007, my brother's wife blamed me, saying, "How much money do you think we spend to maintain this apartment room?" It looked like the family members started arguing about whether or not to go on with the confinement due to their financial burdens as a result of the prolonged confinement. And yet, at least two people stood on guard through the remaining days of the confinement.
Around 4:00 PM on February 10th 2008, my brother's couple, mother and sister abruptly ordered me to leave the apartment, saying, "As you are not willing to verify the wrongs of the Unification Church, get out right now!" But my physical body was extremely exhausted and frail. And they would not return my belongings including my purse. Dressed in my lounge wear, I was thrown down on the concrete corridor in front of the entrance door. Somebody threw my leather shoes upon me.
At a police station on my way to the Unification Church Headquarters, I tried to borrow some money, to no avail as I could not reasonably explain my situation. The police perhaps took me as a street beggar or something. Fortunately indeed, I could encounter a UC member, who offered some money, with which I could take a taxi to reach the church's headquarters.
In the same evening, I was diagnosed malnutrition and admitted to a hospital right away. For a while, I could barely walk on my feet. But after rehabilitation efforts, I became somehow able to walk without a stick and was discharged on March 31st.
Their actions including the prolonged confinement lasting 12 years and 5 months as well as the collective abuses, spiritual and physical, to force my renunciation of faith amounted to nothing but tortures.
I can never pardon their actions, as they deprived me of my fundamental human dignity as well as the most precious period of my life.
And yet, those involved such as my family members and Miyamura have yet shown any remorse or apology. Miyamura even tried to divert blame on him by saying that he never knew that the entrance door of the Ogikubo Flower Home was padlocked.
One of the reasons with which I could keep my faith was because their inhuman and brutal behaviors convinced me that those anti-UC individuals such as Miyamura and my family did manifest the evil and I should never fall into their rank. I was also determined that I shall definitely disclose such horrendous human rights violations to the society when I will make myself free from the unlawful confinement.
From the bottom of my heart, therefore, I would like to solicit the Sugamo Police Chief and whomever this may concern to demonstrate, through strictly punishing all those responsible for my case, that such brutal activities should never be allowed to happen in the contemporary Japan where freedom and human rights are guaranteed.