Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements
M.A. (name withheld by request)
Confined: 2 days in November 1997
Faith-breakers: did not appear
April 12, 2010
I was born as the first daughter of my parents, Shizuo and Hatsu, on July 7, 1964, in Yachiyomachi of the Yuki district in the Ibaragi prefecture. I have a sister named Ayako who is three years my junior and a brother named Kazunori who is six years younger. We lived with our grandfather on our father’s side, Keiji. I graduated from a local high school in March 1983 and entered the Dokanyama Gakuen College of Child Care and Welfare in April of the same year. In April 1985, after graduating from college, I started working as a kindergarten teacher.
In November 1989, I joined the Unification Church (UC) through the introduction of my sister, who was already a member.
My parents started to worry about me after seeing the media’s biased coverage of the Holy Blessing Ceremony for 30,000 couples in August 1992, and their opposition gradually grew more intense. My father’s younger sister lives in Misato city of Saitama prefecture. It was she who introduced the anti-Unificationist ministers to my parents. It seems like my parents attended the study sessions held by those ministers for some time.
In November 1997, one to two years after my parents met the anti-Unificationist ministers, my parents told me to return home. That was when I got kidnapped and confined.
Kidnapping and Confinement
At the end of November 1997, I received a phone call from my parents telling my sister and I to come home for the Buddhist memorial service for my late grandfather. At first, my sister and I were planning to go together, but I ended up going alone since my sister had the flu, and only I got kidnapped.
That day, my father came to pick me up at the Shimotsuma station near our family home. Inside the car, he asked me if I had a cell phone. I told him no since I did not have one then. He told me the order of the service. I had a slightly strange feeling when he told me that we were having lunch after paying a visit to the grave with a few relatives and that there would be no Buddhist monk present. But since my father explained that people often simplify the service nowadays, I accepted it.
We ordered sushi for lunch, and after lunch, my father sat me down at the dining table in the kitchen and started to talk. “Tell me about the doctrine of the Unification Church that you believe in,” he said. Then, my mother came in with a Bible in her hand and said, “I studied, too, because I wanted to understand you,” and she started to turn pages that she had marked with lines here and there.
I finally realized that my parents had prepared the memorial service in order to confine me. I tried to run away through the back door in the kitchen but my father shouted out and I was carried outside by six men (my four uncles who were at the lunch and my brother and father), and before I knew it, they had pushed me into the van that was parked in front of the entrance and kidnapped me. My parents had borrowed a van for that day. Its windows were covered with curtains and could not be opened from the inside. There was a portable toilet in the back seat.
The van drove nonstop on the expressway for eight hours, and we arrived at an apartment in Niigata city in Niigata prefecture. The place I was confined was a three-room apartment on the top floor of a six-story building in Ohmi on the southern side of the Niigata station in Niigata city. The room was on the sixth floor, near the elevator. There was a security chain on the entrance door that was tightly locked with a padlock. All the windows were blindfolded with black plastic, making the room invisible from the outside. Needless to say, I could not go out on the veranda. It was covered with iron wire screen to prevent me from throwing anything outside. Prop sticks were placed at the rails at the lower part of the windows. The bathroom could not be locked from the inside, and there was no toilet paper, either. “We’ll give you the amount you need each time you go,” said my parents. In the kitchen were a 30-kilo bag of rice and enough cooking ingredients for us to live on for some time. The clothes I would need in daily life were already in the closet.
Since we arrived at the apartment around midnight, the discussion started the next morning. I did not eat anything for the whole day and was desperate to remove the black plastic and open the windows when my parents told me that I would meet a Christian minister the next day.
The discussion was held by the four of us: my father, mother, brother and me. My uncles and aunts were in the other room peering at us as they took turns keeping watch on the door or sat under the kotatsu and talked.
“We want to understand you but we are not specialists in the Bible. There is a Christian minister who could understand you well, so please meet him,” said my parents.
They also asked questions such as “Are you and your sister selling expensive seals?” or “You are not trying to force your friends into joining the UC, are you?” They also said, “I heard you call Sun Myung Moon ‘father’ in the UC. Then who are we? Am I not your father?”
I told them that I am not doing anything bad in the UC. “You are and always will be my parents and my love for you has never changed,” I said.
My parents asked me if I was having any trouble in my life in the UC and if I was being paid a decent amount. I was dedicated in church activities, so I told them how well the people in the UC treated me.
“The UC teaches us to become true families,” I said. I insisted that the UC teachings to live a happy married life and to build a true family are not mistaken. Then, my brother who was opposing me took my side and started to persuade my parents. “She’s not doing anything bad and she has not changed. Let’s believe her.”
My parents and relatives understood me; and on the next day, I was released.
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