3.Abducted three times - Police involved in confinement

Soichiro Kobayashi

Police hit my head when asked for help

It was the midnight of November 30th 1992. I came home from the church. While I was asleep, my parents and relatives came in. "Let's talk. Why don't you listen to the minister?" They bound my arms behind my back and forced me into a car. They then took me blindfolded to a room on the 10th floor of a temporary apartment in Ueno, Tokyo. I got confined.

I shouted in protest against their illegal and violent snatch and confinement. I kicked and shattered a window glass with all my force. "I am abducted! I am detained! Please help!", I screamed as loudly as I could. Then, someone alerted police and siren echoed around. A few mobile policemen came to the apartment with pistols in their hands.

My father talked to them at the entrance. I will be free, so I thought. Contrary to my expectation, a chief detective came to me and said, "Unification Church problems are familial matters, you know. Don't make a fuss! You are wrong!"

I tried my best to ask for my freedom, explaining that I was being confined for deprogramming. To my astonishment, the officer hit me on my head and went away. I felt really disappointed.

But I had to do anything to escape. I began screaming again. My parents covered me with a blanket and held me down. Especially, my father was desperate to calm me down, while I kept protesting the illegal abduction and confinement. Then a manager of the apartment approached and said, "You are disturbing our service. Please get out!" Succumbing to his plea, my parents and relatives gave up their scheme and we went home. This was the first incident.

Second attempt by putting me off guard

The second incident took place in March 1995. My parents arranged my college graduation party. My relatives were also invited. "This could be a good chance of witnessing to my kin." On that day, we watched a video 'Chong-sim (whole-heartedness)', a Korean drama. They applauded afterwards. Then, we went out for bowling games and dinner together. They pleased me with some gifts, as well.

As it turned out, these were all traps to put me off guard. I did not take notice of being deceived at all. I got in a car, which entered into a freeway heading towards a different direction from my home. Now I realized that I was set up and began struggling in the car. The car eventually stopped in a parking lot of an apartment in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture. Though it was past midnight, I screamed loud for help.

In their first attempt, they failed because I ran amok. So, instead of a quiet parking lot, they moved to a field along the Tone River and started to persuade me.

We had physical struggles till dawn; I gave butt to one of the relatives with my head; they got enraged. After a while, we got settled and began some conversation. I took one moment of chance to run over the river' bank. They caught me once, but I managed to flee and kept running with all my might through a field when the sun was rising. My father chased me holding down his chest but I outran and somehow managed myself to hide in a house.

After a while, I could hear them running, calling my name and the engine sound. I hid myself trembling, feeling as if a wild dog was hunted. I was so nervous about being caught that I covered myself with a straw mat for about three hours but I could not make up mind to go.

Finally, a child in the house found me and said, "Mom, here is a stranger." So, I got out. I asked his mother for a telephone call to a church member for help. She refused!. I had to look for a pay phone and called the member with the money I had hidden below my sock. Church members came and I managed to escape from the second abduction.

I got abducted twice for deprogramming. But in retrospect, I was a son who wanted to trust my parents.

Hands and legs bound by construction materials<p>

Their third attempt occurred on April 11th 1997. As usual, I left one of the church facilities to go to work at 7:00 AM. On the road, I heard my father shouting, "That's Soichiro!" Abruptly I was caught with hands and legs held, and pushed into a wagon-type vehicle. The car had smoke windows and fixed not to open.

We had heard almost daily by the church leader about dangers of forcible deprogramming. "You will be caught again and again." So, I was aware of this eventuality. Therefore, I was not hopeless in the car.

I screamed over and over again, "This is abduction and confinement! Help me!" The car started moving. I was picked up by the Senju Police Station. Someone must have called the police. A patrol car stopped our car and led us to a police parking lot.

"I will be freed", I thought. When a policeman opened the car, I said, "This is a violation of human rights. This is abduction and confinement. Please help me!" Then, my mother and about twenty people of her age coming out of vehicles shouted to the police. "UC is the evil group. This is a matter between parents and a child." Then, the policeman said, "Right, it is something between parents and a child. Please go!". He then closed the car's door! My plea was ignored so easily, and how mortified I was as I was taken to a place of confinement!

As I was taken to the confinement place, I thought, "In this country there's no human right nor religious freedom. The state power ignored my human rights. I must overcome this and change this country!"

The place they took me was identical to the one in the second attempt; the parking lot of the apartment in Ota City, Gunma. When the car arrived, about twenty people awaited me and I could not scream. They carried me into a room on the second floor. Those twenty people looked at me with grin.

I cannot forget the chagrin of being put into an apartment against my will. It reminded me of innocent Father Moon being taken to a jail. It made me imagine what a former member said to Father, "You had better graduate from this promptly like me".

In spite of my resistance, I was carried into a room on the second floor. They put two types of locks at the door lest it would be open easily. One of the two windows was covered with plywood, another fit with a thick plastic board; so both could not be opened.

I felt mental stress by seeing the environment of very little possibility to escape and I could not hold my temper. Also, they removed a lock from a bathroom, while no knife except a fruit knife was kept in the room.

Seeing all these, I felt more rage, which turned into verbal abuse and physical fighting. I was subdued with my hands and legs bound to construction materials, which was tightened as I tried to move hands or legs. My hands were bound in my back and got tighter as I moved my arms and eventually my shoulder got dislocated. I appealed about the pains but they would not remove the material. I was forced to eat like a dog. When I took bath, my father had to wash me with my hands and legs tied. I could not but weep out of shame as I was not treated like a human. It continued for the first three days since I got confined. That was really a mortifying period to the extent that my younger sister hit me.

Pastor Shimizu: "You may tie him!"

On the second day of confinement, Pastor Shimizu showed up. I did not respond at all, as he talked unilaterally in such an unfair circumstance.

On the other hand, my parents suggested me to lecture the DP. So, I had some books sent from the church bookshop and began lecturing. Seriously determined to witness to my parents, I made lecture plans and gave lectures all the way from 'Introduction' to 'the Second Advent' in 70 days.

After my father heard about the Moses course, he said, "Rev. Moon may be the Messiah." But as Pastor Shimizu talked about various criticism against the UC, it became frustratingly difficult to witness to my parents.

In the meantime, Father and Mother Moon appeared in many of my dreams encouraging me. One day, I received a revelation as male soft voice whispered, "I love you! Please fulfill my wish." That was exactly on the 40th day into the detention. Feeling God's embrace, I could not hold tears and regained some strength. Every day I pondered what His wish was.

It was in July, or three months into the confinement. The prolonged detention and inevitable mental stress did set off the explosion of rage. I kicked the window with all my power. Then thick plastic board deflected and cracked. My parents got so infuriated that he called up Pastor Shimizu.

When he came, he didn't bother to take off his shoes. "If your son becomes violent, it's OK to tie him", he said to my parents. I honestly wondered if this man was really a pastor.

In August, perhaps owing to little physical exercise and excessive consumption of instant foods, my body developed hematuria due to urethral calculus. Apprehensive about my health, I begged in tears to go to see a doctor. My mother was shedding tears but said, "Without the pastor's approval, I cannot do it." As mother, she was anxious about her son's physical condition. Nonetheless, she was totally submissive to the pastor's control, which made me so sad and furious.

After two days enduring hematuria and its pains, Pastor Shimizu came to the apartment and asked: "Can we have adequate number of relatives? We may go to a hospital where he may be watched." He didn't sympathize my mother's emotion or my health at all. What mattered to him was only whether I would attempt to escape or not.

After all, I could not go to a clinic on that day. A few days later, under the pastor's surveillance I saw a doctor in a hospital where one of my relatives worked.

I almost came to a conclusion that my liberation from the confinement would be achieved through a deception of quitting the church. I made myself behaving gently. Perhaps because they considered that I was losing faith, they took me once a week, under the watchful eyes, to a study session at the Ota-hachiman Church administered by Pastor Shimizu.

On September 18th, I managed to escape on the way to the church. After the prolonged detention of five months, however, I was unable to run fast and got caught by father. "Call the pastor!", father directed mother. He even asked passers-by for assistance. A patrol car was dispatched from Ota Police Station, Gunma Prefecture.

Police overlooked human rights violation

While I tried to explain about my circumstances involving abduction and detention to the police officers, Pastor Shimizu arrived in his wagon car. The policemen began talking to the pastor. Their situation was a little different from the time with the Senju Police Office, which completely ignored my appeal and listened exclusively to their story.

But the Ota police acted differently. I desperately appealed to them that I was confined for a long period against my will; my human rights were violated. They talked with the pastor for a while and they seemed to have been persuaded by the pastor. One of them told me; "Don't trouble your parents!" I ended up being brought back to the apartment with police escort!

I pretended to quit the church but failed and got caught again. It would be much harder to repeat the deceptive attempt. I had to deliberately behave gently.

As we entered the room, I pointed at the window and said to the police: "Look! The window is fitted deliberately with plywood. This is detention, isn't? " But the police replied: "No, this is a matter of discussion between parents and a child." Then I showed a thick plastic board fixed on another window, throwing the similar question. Their reply was also the same. What a disappointment! But with a hope for the next attempt, I tried to behave well.

It was on November 10th. having exhausted topics to criticize the UC and observing my little response, Pastor Shimizu said to me, "How about quitting (the UC) now?" "I am thinking so", I said to him.

Assessing that I was finally leaving the church, they decided to connect me with Assistant Pastor Sakae Kurotori of the Totsuka Church, Yokohama. So, a meeting with former members was set up.

In the evening of November 14th, I met some former members while my parents met Pastor Shimizu. One of the former members said, "Abduction and confinement amount to crimes", as if sympathizing the three consecutive attempts of my confinement. I wanted to echo to him. But this ex-member may simply be testing my real mind. So, I said, "No, our parents did not have other options out of love to us." I had to say something contrary to what I felt.

At the raining midnight of November 15th, as I declared my quitting of the church, the door was not locked. Parents looked relieved and were eating instant noodles.

I saw the chance to escape! I put on sports shoes found at the entrance and started running quietly. Public transportation was not available. I was afraid if I could run away when they come after me.

Then a car, seldom seen in the dead of night, stopped at the red signal in front of me. "This must be sent by God!" I opened its door and stepped in. The driver seemed not bothered by a stranger stepping in. "What happened? A car accident or something? Shall I take you to Tokyo?" I wondered why he mentioned 'Tokyo' but said, "Yes. But up to Tatebayashi will do!" And, there you are, I was given a ride of freedom to Tatebayashi!

I can't forgive the fact that my dearest parents followed everything the pastor instructed, unable to make their own decision. When they heard one-sided criticism and abuse on the UC, they even considered committing suicide because of their terrible substance. The pastor exploited parent's affection to their son, overwhelmed their minds and led them to resort to malicious acts like confinement.

Even now, my parents see me only as someone subjected to mind-control and cannot see their son with pure eyes. I shall work on reconciling with my parents. At the same time, I want to encounter Pastor Shimizu in order to ask what he told to my parents or to find out how my parents were enticed to do those things.

God said to me while in detention; "I love you! Please fulfill my wish!" I am convinced that His wish is to end tragedies related to the abduction and confinement. I shall do my best to fulfill that wish.

Japan Victims' Association against Religious Kidnapping & Forced Conversion