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Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements

 

Namiko Katagiri

Confined: October 8, 2001-March 26, 2002

Faith-breakers: Parents and relatives

WRITTEN STATEMENT

(Excerpts from the written statement submitted to the Tokyo District Court)

May 1, 2002

 

Profile

I was born on January 24, 1971, in Hakodate city, Hokkaido. In April 1989, I entered the Ohbirin Junior College in Machida City, Tokyo, majoring in English literature. After graduating in March 1991, I went to Sapporo, where I began working for Credit Saison Co., Ltd., a consumer credit company.

I joined the Unification Church in November 1991 and resigned from the company. But I did not announce either of those decisions to my parents. On the New Year’s holidays in 1992, I visited my parents in Hakodate, intent on informing them about my resignation. But I ended up returning to Sapporo without touching upon the subject.

Opposition from parents

 

In January 1992, when my mother called the company to contact me, she learned that I had left the company. In my telephone conversation, I told her that I had faith in the Unification Church. In February, I moved out of the apartment in Sapporo and began living with my parents in Hakodate. In September, I began working at my father’s company, Matsuda Hardware Store.

In March 1995, I picked up a pocket notebook that had fallen in the store’s office. It was my father’s. Inside were an address and telephone number of Rev. Yamamoto, pastor of Sapporo’s Motomachi Church, United Church of Christ in Japan. I got so anxious about a possible abduction and confinement that I opened my father’s attaché case placed on his desk. In it, I found two sheets of fax with a headline “Materials about the Unification Church.” There was also a letter to his subordinate, saying, “Three of my family will be away from home after April 1st in order to deal with N’s case. I can’t elaborate the concrete reason now, but please take care of the store’s management.”

 

Convinced of my parents’ plan of abduction and confinement, I left the house in the evening of March 30. I went to the house of my elder brother, Hiroshi, in Yokohama. I explained my circumstances to him and asked for shelter. When I called my father from my brother’s house, father said, “It was my own plan and none of the family knows about it. I won’t do it again.” Nonetheless, I stayed on in my brother’s home for about one month.

On November 29, 1997, together with my husband, Kazutoshi, I participated in the International Marriage Blessing Ceremony in Washington, D.C., which was presided over by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. After returning to Japan, I lived in Saitama prefecture.

 

At the beginning of October 1998, my mother called me. “Why don’t you come and join us for the second anniversary of your grandmother’s death?” I called up a close friend and employee of my father’s store. She disclosed that my parents were scheming for my confinement. My father had mentioned his plan to three employees. One of them was [my friend’s] aunt, who leaked the plot. So, I decided not to attend the memorial service.

 

In January 1999, my husband and I started our family life in an apartment in Machida city. In May, I was dispatched by an employment agency as a telephone receptionist to JACCS Co.,Ltd.

 

Confined in Sapporo

 

Around September 28, 2001, my elder brother Hiroshi, living in Yokosuka city, called me. “Why don’t you come and see use?” Though a little concerned, I pledged to see him on October 8.. On the eve of my visit, I told my husband that I would send an e-mail every hour indicating “I am OK!” I asked him to alert the police if anything unusual were detected.

 

I left our home on the morning of October 8 and sent the first e-mail from a train. I arrived at the house of my elder brother just past noon. When my brother’s couple and I were chatting in the living room, my brother suggested a walk with their dog. The weather didn’t look so good and I felt it was a little strange. I sent the second e-mail and went along, with my cellular phone in my hand.

 

When we came to a road along a river with few passersby around, all of a sudden my parents and second elder brother, Morio, emerged from the left side. My father grabbed my left arm and the right arm was held by my mother. I was encircled by Morio, Hiroshi and his wife. With strong wind and rain, nobody else was around.

 

“Where are you taking me? I will never be confined!” I said in defiance. But I was pushed into a van. I clearly stated my will. “Let me get off! I don’t want to go!” Nonetheless, I was forced to sit in the middle of the rear seat with my mother on my right and father on the left. Morio drove the car, while Hiroshi sat in the front seat, his wife and the dog in the far back. All the windows except the front and rear were covered with curtains. Between the driver’s seat and the middle seat as well as between the middle seat and the far back, there were curtains, as well. Black film was applied on the rear window. My cellular phone was taken away by my father.

 

After about 20 minutes of driving, the car stopped and Hiroshi opened the rear door. Mayo and the dog went somewhere. From their conversation, I realized that it was the house of Mayo’s parents. After a while, only Hiroshi returned to the car and the driving resumed. “Let me go to a toilet!” I said at a parking area. But my mother told me to use a portable toilet in the back. I had to comply.

 

Late in the night, we went aboard a ferry at the Aomori port and arrived in Hakodate the next morning. Then we kept driving for about three hours to reach an apartment in Kita-ku, Sapporo. I was flanked by my parents and two elder brothers as we went to apartment No. 603.

 

The apartment consisted of three rooms and a dining room/kitchen. Its entrance door was equipped with its own lock as well as a chain lock connected with a combination lock and two chains bolted to the wall. A tatami room facing the porch and a dining room had sliding doors, which were two points locked shut with wooden blocks at two points each. In another small room, its window facing the corridor outside was closed with stoppers at two points and its door was equipped with a lock. Necessary living items were prepared but no telephones installed and the intercom disconnected. I pleaded once again to my parents to let me go, only to be rejected.

 

Morio went back to Tokyo that evening. At night, my mother slept beside me in one room while my father slept in the next. For the first three days, they took turns keeping a vigil on me. Afterward, whenever I went to the toilet, they woke up and observed me.

 

Until the end of October, I read aloud the Divine Principle, the official publication of the Unification Church doctrines, and tried to explain about some points. From November till February of the next year, I answered my parents’ questions. But father would say, “You answer me only in accordance with the Unification Church logic. You are not thinking with your own mind!” So, our arguments were on different planes.

 

During my confinement, my two elder brothers and sister came to see me twice each. My chronic cystitis got worse because of stress and lack of medicine. Also some eczema developed on my forehead and upper body with no clear cause.

Saved by police

 

A little past 10:00 am on March 24, 2002, a drug salesman knocked on the door. My parents were expecting either my elder brother or sister. My mother, in the kitchen, said, “It must be your elder brother.” So, I opened the curtain behind the door. “Is it you, brother?” Curiously, my parents did not prevent me from doing that.

 

I looked through a peep hole. “Hello! I am from the Aikoudou, a drug delivery service. Do you know about it?” the man said. Inspired that this was the chance I was waiting for, I screamed, “My name is N------ K-------. I am being confined!” Realizing something unusual was happening, my parents desperately dragged me back inside the room. In the ensuing silence, my father tried to hear what was happening in the hallway. The salesman was visiting next door. “What do you think you are doing?” my mother scolded.

 

At 7:40 pm on March 26, someone knocked on the door. “Who is it?” my father said. “This is the police!” After checking the police ID through the peep window, my father opened the door. Suddenly, I heard my husband calling “N------ san!” “Yes. This is N------!” I replied. But he did not come in. Instead, two plainclothes detectives and two policemen came inside.

 

One of the detectives, by the name of Nitta, asked me. “Are you Ms. N----- K------? We were informed of a woman being confined. You asked for help, didn’t you?” “Yes, I did,” I replied. Then Nitta said, “Who are these people with you?” I answered, “They are my parents!” With apparent astonishment, he said, “Your own parents have confined you?” Gazing at my father, he said in a strong tone, “Even if you are her parent, you are not entitled to do this. She is 31 years old, isn’t she? You know the Constitution guarantees freedom, don’t you?” My father said, “Yes. But my daughter wouldn’t listen to us, whatever we said. She would try to turn her back!” Nitta asked me, “Couldn’t you get out?” I said, “Since the door and windows were locked up, I could not open them from within.”

 

My father asked another younger detective for his cellular phone. But questioned as to whom he was going to call, my father seemed embarrassed and shut his mouth. The detective asked, “You want a Christian minister?” “Yes,” my parents replied. Hearing their conversation, I was convinced that the police were aware of this kind of crime committed by UC members’ families under the direction of Christian ministers.

 

Nitta told us to come to the police station. Leaving my mother behind, my father and I went to the North Police Station by patrol car. I could go out of the apartment after 170 days!

 

After the police inquiry, my husband and I, my father as well as my elder brother and his wife, who had rushed to the police station, spoke for about 20 minutes in the waiting room. I could meet my husband again after 170 days. When our conversation was over, I was finally restored my freedom!

After the confinement

 

In order to cure my cystitis, I started visits to the Iida Clinic. The prolonged confinement had weakened my physical body, causing a cold and swollen lymph nodes on my neck. They were cured shortly, but I still suffer from the cystitis.

 

I called the employment agency and explained why I could not work for an extended period of time. They understood my situation but I was already listed as having resigned.

Through the abduction and confinement, my husband and I had to undergo tremendous mental torment. I lost my job and my physical health deteriorated. I believe that it is absolutely unacceptable even for one’s parents or siblings to confine an adult person for an extended period of time in order to break his/her faith or to destroy a marital union. My elder brother, Hiroshi, who took part in the scheme, flatly denied his involvement in his statement to the court. As for my father, he has ignored repeated summonses from the court. I strongly demand that my parents and brothers never repeat this kind of act.