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    Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements


    Soichiro Kobayashi


    Confined: November 1992-December 2,1992

    April 1987-November 14, 1987

    Faith-breaker: Rev. Yoshio Shimizu



    December 9, 1999




    I was born in 1971 in Koto-Ward, Tokyo, to Yoshihiro and Toshie Kobayashi. I have a sister three years younger, Tomomi. I enrolled in the Architecture Department, Engineering Faculty, Chiba Institute of Technology, in May 1991. While I was at school, I was introduced to the teaching of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church, or UC). I joined the UC on May 31, 1992. Since then, I have undergone abduction and confinement twice at the hands of my relatives, who tried to make me withdraw from the faith. For the second attempt, Rev. Yoshio Shimizu of the Japan Christian Union was directing my relatives.


    First Abduction and Confinement


    In November 1992 around midnight while I was resting at my parents’ home, I was abducted by a group of people including my parents, my father’s half sister Takako Murayama, and her husband Hiroshi, my father’s other half sister Michiko Sawai, and her husband Isao (who serves as a judge of the Kodokan Judo association), as well as my mother’s brother Kiyoshi Sugaya. They took me by taxi to a weekly rental condominium in Ueno, Tokyo, and confined me in a 10th floor room right next to the elevator.


    Though the door was not locked with a special device, my family always blocked the way to the entrance, preventing me from escaping. I intermittently acted violently and shouted, “I am confined! Help me!” But each time, my mouth was forced closed and my body was held down by my relatives. My parents said, “Rev. Kawasaki is concerned about you” or “Mr. Asami cares about you.” Presumably, Rev. Kawasaki means Rev. Keiko Kawasaki of the Japan Christian Union, while Mr. Asami is refers to Prof. Sadao Asami of the Tohoku Gakuin University. Both were known to be engaged in fierce anti-UC activities.


    In desperation, I kicked and broke the window and shouted loudly, “Help me! I am kidnapped!” Some of my relatives became frantic, trying to hold me down. My parents said, “You broke it, didn’t you?” while trying to cover my mouth with a cushion. After about 20 minutes, sounds of a siren were heard outside. Then, the telephone rang and someone knocked at the entrance door. When nobody opened the door, the telephone rang again and my father answered.


    Suddenly, a couple of riot troopers carrying guns came into the room and talked with my father at the entrance. Shortly afterward, a chief detective approached me and said, “Don’t disturb us, will you? UC-related problems are between the parents and the child. You are wrong! Don’t cause an uproar! You know, some two hundred riot troopers had to be mobilized!”


    I explained my circumstances under detention. But he did not care about that, instead changing the subject by saying, “You broke a window on the 10th floor. What did you think would happen when glass falls on people on the ground?” He left me by saying, “Don’t cause trouble for your parents!”


    As the troopers left us, I got almost mad and screamed again in my loudest voice. Then, the building’s superintendent showed up and said, “You are disturbing our business! Please get out!”


    Having heard this, my parents gave up the plan and returned home in the night of December 2. Uncle Sawai rebuked me by saying, “You are not fair! Why don’t you play on an equal footing?” As they aborted the plan of confining me, I returned home.


    The next attempt


    When I was walking near the Senju Police Station on my way to a part-time job at 7:15 am in April 1987, all of a sudden, I heard my father’s voice shouting, “That is Soichiro!” I saw some 20 men and women, including my parents and Kiyoshi Sugaya. I was attacked by four of them and carried into a waiting van. “Help!” I screamed.


    The windows of the vehicle had been made opaque, and the windows of the passenger seats were fixed to be immobile. Inside the vehicle were my parents, my younger sister Sugaya and an unknown person. I was scared to death when I realized that my confinement had been carried out systematically, involving someone other than my kin. The vehicle passed the Senju Station, crossed the Senju-Ohasi Bridge and went toward the entrance to the highway.


    A patrol car followed our vehicle and stopped us. Through a microphone, the police instructed our car to follow them to the Senju Police Station. I tried to get out but could not, being grabbed firmly by the relatives. A policeman got out of his patrol car and looked inside the van. My father said, “My son was made a fanatic with the UC! It’s a parent-child matter.” Ignoring his assertion, the policeman questioned me. “What is the matter with you?” I told him: “I have been abducted! As I have basic human rights, please get me out of here!” The policeman said to the father, “He says this and he has his own will. Why don’t you let him go?”


    Then, some seven unknown people who had assisted in my abduction surrounded the policeman, shouting all at once, “This guy has been mind-controlled!” Overwhelmed by their pressure, the policeman said at last to my father, “You may go!”


    The station wagon crossed the Senju-Ohashi Bridge once again, and eventually we arrived at the same parking lot of the Sunrise Ota, where I had been taken before. Two station wagons had followed our car, carrying those who had assisted my father. One of the relatives urged me to get out of the vehicle, but I refused to comply. In the end, I was forcibly brought out by the relatives and a stranger and was confined in room No. 209 at the Sunrise Ota.


    The entrance door was locked threefold, with a padlock, a combination lock and a chain lock. The apartment consisted of three rooms and a kitchen. One of the rooms was at the side of the entrance and situated against the hallway, while two other rooms faced the porch. The windows of the room near the entrance and one of the two rooms located against the porch had 15-mm-thick plywood shields. Another room window was covered with special 10-mm-thick celluloid board. The plywood shields were fixed to the window frames with 5-cm screws at 10-cm intervals. The window locks were also closed permanently. The doors of the bathroom and toilet were unlocked. A telephone in the corridor was sealed in a padlocked wooden box.


    Desperate to escape, I acted violently. But each time, I was hit, held down and finally bound by the relatives. I had my hands tied behind my back with bandages and tape as well as a metallic material that normally is used to fix construction pipes [duct tape]. My legs were bound in the same way. With my hands tied behind me, my shoulders were on the verge of dislocation, sending severe pains. The more I moved my hands or legs, the tighter the metal applied to my hands and legs closed, coming to cut into my flesh after a lapse of time. No matter how I cried and begged, they would not remove the metallic tape. My hands were unbound the following day, while the legs were untied three days later.


    Two days after I was bound, I experienced itching all over my body. I requested a bath, so my father put me in the hot bath with my hands and legs bound and washed my body. During this period, as I was not allowed to use my hands and legs, I had to eat meals only with my mouth!


    On April 12 around 9:00 pm, Shimizu showed up at the confinement site. “I never wanted you to come,” I said. He looked puzzled. After that, he came twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, but I did not respond to him. He would give one-sided criticism of the UC. From May, a few women who had left the UC under his guidance began to accompany him twice a week.


    When my parents were asleep at night, I searched a container under the kitchen sink for anything useful for an escape. Instead, I found a roll of bandage, masking tape and a piece of rope to be used to bind me.


    One morning in July, as I could not hold back my temper and desire to display resistance to the protracted ordeal, I kicked the celluloid board covering the window very strongly with my right foot. The board got bent, hitting the window glass and creating one-inch-diameter, circle-shaped cracks on the window, which was reinforced with metal net so it did not make a hole. My parents got furious and said to me, “You broke it, didn’t you? We will call the pastor.”


    Convinced that the call to the pastor would mean prolonged confinement, I went to bed. About an hour later, Shimizu came, with shoes on [unusual in Japanese culture], into the room where I was lying. He shouted, “Hey, get up! How come you are lying down?” He took away my blanket. Noticing his sneakers, I thought he was ready to struggle with me. He told me not to be violent and preached for about 20 minutes. He also advised my parents, “If he becomes violent, do whatever you have to! If you hesitate, he would look down on you.”


    Falling ill


    In August I began to have blood in my urine and pain in the urethra. Showing my urine to my parents, I asked to visit a doctor. Very anxious about anything wrong in my body, I begged them with tears. But they would only tell me to wait for a while. Two days later, the minister came to discuss with my parents whether I should be taken to a doctor. At that time, the minister was concerned only about my possible escape. He said, “Can you prepare enough relatives? What about cars? If there is a medical facility nearby, he should be checked there.” He never mentioned anything about my health condition.


    When he was gone, my father said, “Though we are concerned about your health, we are not allowed [by Shimizu] to take you. We will ask again, so just be patient!” The pastor was worried about my possible escape if I were taken to a hospital. But after the prolonged confinement, my physical condition was not good and I could not have escaped.


    The following day, I was allowed to visit a hospital under the guard of my parents, younger sister and the minister. I myself wished to see a urologist, but my relatives had no associates in that field [whom they could trust to cooperate]. Accordingly, I was not allowed to go to the urology department. While I was in the hospital, the minister even entered the consultation room to watch me. The doctor said, “The urinary duct was cut, perhaps by a kidney stone.” He offered some medicine but would not treat the wounded area.


    In an evening chat, my mother said, “The way Minister Shimizu carries things out is too harsh. I don’t like his personality.”


    Failed escape attempt


    On September 18, when I was to be taken, under my parents’ guard, to a study session of the “Scions Association” of former UC members, on my way to the parking lot, I escaped. But because I was unable to run fast, I was caught by my father. He asked a passing Brazilian man for assistance in capturing me. As my mother arrived, my father urged her to call the minister. Someone must have called police, because a patrol car approached us. Two policemen and a female officer got out and asked what had happened. While I was telling them about my circumstances of abduction and confinement, the minister’s couple and ex-members came by in a station wagon.


    The police officers began to talk with the minister, too. One of them said, “As quite a number of problems between UC members and their parents are taking place in Ota City, we are learning the UC doctrines to formulate our countermeasures.” I repeatedly appealed that my human rights had been violated, but the policeman would only say, “I see your points, but don’t give your parents trouble!” The police officers decided to send me back to the confinement site. From my previous experiences, I knew they would not help me. So, I gave up and returned to the room.


    My escape


    Around November 10, the minister sounded like he was running out of materials to criticize the UC. He questioned, “How do you feel now?” Having abandoned any hope of escape on my own due to the strict surveillance, contrary to my own will, I replied weakly, “I am leaving the Unification Church!”


    On November 14 about 10:00 am, the minister came to the confinement site with a male ex-member. The pastor confided his mind about the abduction and confinement by saying, “Honestly, I don’t want to do this!” Late that night, he and the ex-member left the confinement site. Usually, immediately after the minister left, my father would lock the door with the chain lock and the padlock. Perhaps because of my confession of quitting, he did not lock the door right away.


    I asked my mother about whom they had consulted when they planned the first confinement attempt. She said it was Pastor Koga, perhaps referring to Seiji Koga of the United Church of Christ in Japan, a man known to be an anti-UC activist.


    The entrance door was still not locked. When my parents were not watching me, I escaped through the entrance. By hitching a ride in several vehicles and taking a taxi, I could finally reach Tokyo. Thus, I got freed from the seven-month confinement and rampant violation of human rights.

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 20:08