3.Mr. Soichiro Kobayashi - abducted 3 times

Police avoids action saying "family matters"
5 different locks on the door, boarded windows

Soichiro Kobayashi (37) converted to the Unification Church in 1992 when he was a university student. He has been abducted 3 times which were intended to coerce him into giving up his faith. Even now, as helooks back on his experiences, he tells himself, "It was really a life-and-death struggle."

The first abduction took place in late November 1992. Kobayashihad been sleeping at home with his family when he was forced into a carand taken to a condo in Ueno, Tokyo. He had yelled at the top of his lungs insearch of help.

A little while later, the neighbors had tipped-off the police andabout 200 police and riot police officers stormed the condo. In relief, Kobayashi thought, "I'm saved." However, the police left them as they weresimply after Kobayashi's parents explained that it was only a "family matter."

"I've been kidnapped, yet why don't the police, who are supposed to protect the common citizen, helpme?" Kobayashi was completely stunned as he could only watch the policemen leave his room. However,he did not give up and kept on resisting confinement. Then the manager of the condo finally said,"You're just causing trouble so get out of here." With that, he was able to escape further suffering.

Three years later, he would be abducted again. However, he was able to successfully avoidconfinement as he found a chance to escape as they got close to the condo that he was supposed to beconfined to.

Wanting to believe in his parents, he kept telling himself, "They've failed twice. They definitelydare not try a third time." However, contrary to his hopes, after two years, he was abducted for thethird time in April. It happened on his way to work. Without being given a choice, he was forced into a car.

I'm being kidnapped! HELP!" Kobayashi would continue to yell for help. It was the morningrush hour and had happened in front of hundreds of witnesses. A police car quickly followed them andtook them to the nearest police station; however, they let them go after his parents explained yet againthat it was only a "family matter."

e was taken to a condo in Ota City in Gunma Prefecture. The door to his room was locked with5 different types of locks . padlocks, dial-switch locks, etc. Kobayashi's room was built so that his room was not connected with the front door and the windows were boarded up so that he could not seeoutside.

About 2 months later, a minister named Yoshio Shimizu of the then Ota Hachiman Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCC-J) would visit his room and would repeatedly denounce theUnification Church. As he had been confided for a long time, he was pushed to his limits both mentallyand physically and began suffering hematuria (blood in the urine). However, neither Rev. Shimizu norhis relatives turned a blind eye and didn't even consider taking him to the hospital. His mother strongly scolded him saying, "We can't take you to the hospital unless we have permission from the reverend."

After half a year had passed, the locks that had kept him locked up were removed from the door. One night in late November, after making sure no one was watching, he escaped from theapartment building. He had lost considerable physical strength, but somehow managed to runaway toTokyo.

Kobayashi, despite being abducted 3 times, wanted to know how his parents were doing, soafter 7 years, managed to contact them. However, they would only fill his ears with words of agony suchas, "We'd like to apologize, but we just can't..." Kobayashi himself is saddened when he thinks of hisparents and how they must feel frustrated being lead by those around them to do the things they did.Currently, there is only one things that Kobayashi wishes for. "No matter what religion people believein, I would like to help build a world where we can recognize and respect each others' differences."

(Sekai Nippo June 25, 2009)

Japan Victims' Association against Religious Kidnapping & Forced Conversion