Voices of knowledgeable people
Diet member Hinokida made
unprecedented hearings at the Diet
Diet member Jin Hinokida
Debates at the Audit & Administration Supervisory Committee of the House of Representatives on April 20th 2000
Q. Representative Jin Hinokida: I suppose that you, as a top of the police which exercises investigative powers, make sure it does not violate Article 14 in the Constitution which stipulates that all people are equal under the law as well as Article 20 on freedom of religion. May I hear your comment on this?
A. Police Chief Setuo Tanaka: Every officer takes the oath of duty to safeguard the Japanese Constitution and laws, and to perform one's duties neutrally, equally, rightfully, and being fair. It is no doubt that the policing should not violate any of the Constitutional provisions such as freedom of religion and the equality under the law.
Q. Hinokida: If a criminal act such as abduction, confinement, assault, or injuring is committed by one's parents or spouse, is the case not charged?
A. Tanaka: If it is an act of self-defense or emergency evacuation, or is done by a child under age 14 or by a person lack of competency, or without enough evidence to criminate, then the one will not be charged. However, if there's any criminal act committed even by one's parents, child, or relatives without exception, we will strictly deal with it in accordance with the law and evidences.
Q. Hinokida: That very common-sense thing is not done in Japan. In the International Human Rights Report compiled by the US State Department in 1999, it is reported that Japanese police systematically does not work on abduction, confinement, and injury cases, and that is bringing the very serious situation that Japanese police might lose its credit in the international society. In addition, in the U.S. National Conference of Chiefs of Police in 1992, it was decided to identify any abduction and confinement case as guilty anywhere in the world and determined to prevent those cases. Did you know that?
A. Tanaka: I didn't know about the case of the U.S. National Conference of Chiefs of Police, but I know about the Report by the US State Department. Specifically, I have heard that Unification Church members complained that police did not take any action on forcible conversion cases toward their members, and because of that, arbitrary confinement terms of the victims are prolonged. However, as the police, if there's any criminal act, we are strictly dealing with it in accordance with the law and evidences. We will continue dealing with those cases in the same manner.
Q. Hinokida: I think that subjecting someone to a beating as a means of punishment, abducting, confining or injuring someone is absolutely unacceptable.
A. Tanaka: Those are unacceptable in a law-abiding state.
Q. Hinokida: Today, I will submit the evidence that the police is involved and is accepting the abduction and confinement cases.
A criminal who abducted and confined an UC member had made a plan sheet. I have that original. In the sheet, it is written the date to do what, and also how to respond if the victim resists. Moreover, Ishikawa so-and-so contacted the Akishima police station on May 14th 1998 before carrying out the plan, and made the plan "authorized", then did it. Is there any case that the police permitted the abduction and confinement?
A. Tanaka: We are not permitting any criminal act to be carried out with the police involved directly.
Q. Hinokida: On June 7th 1997 in Tottori City, a retired police officer, who had worked at the Tottori Police Station for forty years, attacked a UC branch building together with five ex-policemen and tax office clerks in a group of about twenty people. They were armed with stun guns, iron pipes, chains etc. Four church members were injured in the attack.
But none of the attackers were arrested nor investigated. I'm suspicious that the National Police Agency concealed the case because the retired officer with forty-year carrier behind was involved. Please, comment about this.
A. Norikiyo Hayasi, Detective Superintendent of the National Police Agency: Tottori Prefecture Police investigated and found no stun guns nor iron pipes. However, we cannot ignore the crime committed by the multitude.
Tottori Prefecture Police had sent the report of six suspects on the forcible entry and injury to Tottori District Public Prosecutors Office.
Q. Hinokida: The victim is saying that there was no investigation for a year, and when she was kidnapped to Himeji, the police did not put any emergency deployment on its route. Was the police given notice beforehand?
A. Hayasi: Local police officers had conducted the investigation and inspection. I heard that Tottori Prefecture Police knew about the case with the emergency call and put the emergency deployment for two hours, made efforts to find the criminals and herself.
Q. Hinokida: This victim was missing, being abducted and confined for a year and three months. After that, she went to Higashi-Yodogawa Police Station to ask for help. However, when I consulted with the National Police Agency, they said that the offense report is not filed. Is it true?
A. Hayashi: A victim's lawyer as her proxy visited the Osaka Prefecture Police. I understand that Osaka Prefecture Police took an appropriate action upon confirming the victim's will to apply the case and the damage.
Q. Hinokida: I asked the National Police Agency about that, and they said no offense report was submitted from Higashi-Yodogawa Police Station. Here, I have a copy of the offense report submitted on June 14th 1999. Is it a fake?
A. Hayashi: I haven't confirmed about the offense report you showed.
Q. Hinokida: That's outrageous! I asked, so a storm blew up. You reported that there's no offense report submitted, thinking that you can cloud the issue. You should correct your remark.
A. Hayashi: This lawyer had a letter from the victim. The lawyer said that he shall leave the documents to the police, not the offense report, and asked to consider the case as a confinement. We didn't hear anything from them after that, and on November 1st, 1999, suddenly he sent us the judgment document of Tottori affair, civil suit claim of damages caused on June 7th, 1997 by a certified mail.
Q. Hinokida: Does the abduction and confinement case require complaints? The victim was abducted and confined for around one year and three months. In this case is the complaint required?
A. Hayashi: No, it's not.
Q. Hinokida: "Tottori incident" was turned over to Tottori District Public Prosecutors Office, but the responsible prosecutor is saying that he wouldn't arrest suspects. Is such attitude acceptable?
A. Furuta, Director-General of the Criminal Affairs Bureau of Ministry of Justice: I have heard that the prosecutor had replied that there's little possibility for suspects to escape, so he is not thinking of arresting them at the moment. Since the case is sensitive, he is planning to investigate and judge carefully.
Q. Hinokida: I have heard that the responsible prosecutor said something like he would never arrest the suspects, although there was a forcible entry, obstruction of operations, damage to property and injurious assault. His attitude as such is to be charged of the abuse of authority by special public officers stipulated in Article 194 of Penal Code, isn't it?
A. Furuta: In general, the abuse of authority by particular public officers to be identified, the party would misuse his authority to force someone to do something that is not his duty, or to interfere with someone exercising his/her right. I understand that the comment of that prosecutor meant to say that the possibility of the suspects to escape is quite little, so he is not thinking of arresting them at the moment.
Q. Hinokida: I have questioned about these cases today for two reasons. One is my concern that police authority might be against the equality under the law in Japan. Another is an existence of a group committing abduction and confinement unsuitable to a will of members' parents. The group systematically conducts the crime, and about 300 people are abducted and confined every year. What if I disappear for a year and three months? You wouldn't search for me? This confinement group is run by some Christian ministers on a countrywide basis. I take this situation as a challenge to the nation and the police.
A. Tanaka: I know some cases that UC members filed the damages or consulted with prefecture police. Since it is a mission of police to protect people's lives and property, if there's any illegal act against the criminal laws and regulations, we will strictly deal with it in accordance with the laws and the evidences.
Mr. Hinokida: It is a very serious problem that the police ignores the violation of human rights, and leaves abducted and confined victims. Not only that, the police is involved in the cases and neglecting that involvement. This is a serious challenge to the nation. These cases have been taking place for twenty years, and about 4,000 people were victimized. All of them are adults. I strongly hope each Japanese citizen to be treated equally under the law, to be safe physically, and enjoy the freedom of religion and live freely.