On April 20th in the year 2000 at the Diet's Audit & Administration Supervisory Committee of the House of Representatives, Mr. Jin Hinokida from the Liberal Democratic Party submitted a question concerning violation of human rights and freedom of faith as follows;
"Is it at all possible that punishable criminal acts such as abduction, confinement, assault or injury cases are not subject to criminal charges, should they be committed by the victim's parents or spouse? "
Responding on behalf of the government, Mr. Setsuo Tanaka, Director General of the National Police Agency, clearly stated:
"Suppose a criminal act is committed by the victim's parents or any member of the kin, it should be dealt with strictly and fairly in the light of laws and evidences regardless of their relations."
On September 28th 2009, an American man snatched his 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter away from his former Japanese wife who had just returned from the USA to her Japanese family. Her divorced husband was arrested and indicted on charges of abduction of minors by the Yanagawa Police Station, Fukuoka Prefecture.
This incident was reported as a case involving legal discrepancies between Japan and the USA on failed international marriages. (Cf. The Asahi Shimbun, October 2nd 2009). The Fukuoka Prefecture Police, on the other hand, insisted that, "The crime here involves the forcible abduction of the minors and has nothing to do with their divorce proceedings."
The above two matters, namely; the statement by the National Police chief in 2000 and the position taken by the Yanagawa Police in the minors' abduction case this year were based on the same legal ground.
Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka as head of the Japanese police stated at the Committee mentioned above as follows:
"I have acknowledged complaints or reports submitted by the Unification Church members to several prefecture police offices around the nation. We, as the police authorities commissioned to protect citizens' lives, safety and property will deal strictly and fairly with any acts that would violate criminal laws in the light of laws and evidences."
Indeed, freedom of faith should not be violated unilaterally even by one's parents. Any violation of criminal laws should be equally and fairly dealt with, no matter who committed the crime. This is the common criterion in the legal system.
But has this norm been applied fairly to the members of the Unification Church? Regretfully, it was not always the case and this is the point we want to make in this booklet.
We respect wholeheartedly those police officers who are risking their lives for civil security and safety. We, therefore, hope that they will act fairly and swiftly without prejudice and in light of laws if and when our fellow members of the Unification Church face violations of their freedom of faith, life or human rights.
In our observation, as far as abduction / confinement cases involving the Unification Church members are concerned, police authorities have grossly mixed up those who should be protected and who should be prosecuted.
We strong urge the authorities concerned to act promptly in line with their official assurance made at the Diet almost ten years before.
Japan Victims' Association against Religious Kidnapping & Forced Conversion