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Payday Loans

Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements

 

Yumiko Kondo

Confined: March 1988

Faith-breaker: Shinya Waga (advising Ms. Kondo’s parents)

WRITTEN STATEMENT

[no date given]

I was born on October 4, 1962, the first daughter of my father, Keijiro Fujita, and my mother, Shizuno. We moved to Edogawa-ku, Tokyo, when I was little and I grew up there. On November 20, 1984, I met Chikako Konishi (now Chikako Takahashi) in front of the Kameido station and began studying the teachings of the Unification Church. Eventually I joined the church.

In March 1988, when I was a member of the Taito branch of the church, my parents told me my second oldest brother was getting married and they wanted me to come to meet his fiancé. By that time, Miss Konishi, who had witnessed to me, had been kidnapped and had left the church. It seems that she had gone to meet my parents and talked about my situation.

Kidnapping

After Miss Konishi left the church, I felt that I had a high risk of being kidnapped, so when my parents asked me to come meet them. I asked a male member of the church to come with me just in case. As it turned out, my family had already set in motion a plan to kidnap me and had prepared relatives to help them. There was a physical struggle between us and them. I screamed, “Help! Somebody call the police.” My mother screamed, “We are the parents of this child!” The officer who came said he could not get involved in affairs between parents and children. The police left without doing anything. My relatives had greater numbers and eventually pushed me into a car. They took me to an apartment in Chuou-ku, Tokyo, and confined me in a room on the third floor.

The room they put me in had no furniture. It was obviously a room prepared to confine someone. I realized there must have been a Christian minister behind my parents’ actions. When I thought about that, I felt deep anguish and fear. They served me meals, but I didn’t have an appetite. I realized that I had to leave this place and to do so I needed physical strength. So I forced myself to eat.

When I was taking a bath, I found an air duct in a ceiling. I thought I might be able to get out through that, but I gave up that idea because it was too small.

I said I was tired and pretended to sleep. My parents thought I was sleeping and they called a “teacher” to the room. I overheard their conversation and the “teacher” told my parents that if he were able to meet me the next day, he would start talking to me. Then he left. I later found out that a minister of [a branch of] the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Shinya Waga, had been involved in Miss Konishi’s case. So I assume that this person was Minister Waga. I felt I had to leave before meeting the minister, so I decided to escape that night.

Escape

I prayed, “I will try to escape three times. If I am able to escape on the first attempt, please protect me. Even if I fail the first time, please make it happen on the third attempt. I promise that I will never betray you. I will never leave the church.” That night my mother slept right next to me in order to watch me. I saw that there was a gutter pipe, approximately 20 cm wide, outside the window. I was thinking about using it to go down. I woke up to escape, but my mother realized I was awake. I said that I was going to the restroom.

I woke up a second time and found some rubber sandals. I grabbed them and went back to bed. When I tried the third time, I prayed again, “I will go, God. Please protect me.” My mother was sleeping deeply. I opened the window quietly. It was raining. I closed the window quietly behind me. Though I got all wet and dirty, I was able to get down to the second floor using the gutter pipe. It didn’t reach the ground. I didn’t know what to do, but I was sure that if they caught me now it would be more difficult to escape again. So I decided to jump. I realized I could hang from the handrail and then release my hands. That way I could reduce the shock as much as possible. When I released my grip, I shouted “God!” in my heart. When I landed on the ground, I made a lot of noise. I felt a big shock, especially to my back. I was worried that my mother might have woken up. I looked up to the room, but it seemed she didn’t realize I was gone. I couldn’t stand up at first, so I crawled. When I had recovered, I stood up, put on the rubber sandals, and ran. I checked the address from a utility pole and it said “Tsukiji.”

It was raining, two o’clock in the morning and there were not many people walking about. I had to call the church, so I looked for someone who could loan me a 10-yen coin to make a phone call. I found a lady who had just come out of a shop. She was riding a bicycle, holding an umbrella in one hand. I asked her, “Excuse me, I am injured and want to make a phone call. Can I borrow some small change?” She looked at me, standing in front of her with dirty clothes and no umbrella. She gave me what she had in her pocket. I said, “Thank you very much. I can’t return this to you, but I am grateful for your help.” She left without saying much. I got probably 140 yen. I changed them all into 10-yen coins and called the church. Somehow a church accountant had stayed up late and picked up the phone. I explained the situation and he came to pick me up.

When I saw his face I was finally relieved from all the stress and began to feel enormous pain in my leg. After that I was not able to walk. I went to the hospital, and the doctor told me I had a broken bone in the sole of my foot. I had not felt much when I was running, but after I was rescued I began feeling the pain.

Aftermath

For three years from that time, I was not able to make a phone call to my parents out of fear of being kidnapped again. I lived as a full-time member at a church in Tokyo. After three years had passed, I decided to meet my mother. It required a lot of courage. I found that they were not connected to that minister any more.

It was a shock for them that I had escaped and returned to the church. At the same time, they became exhausted from relating to the minister. However, they were still under the influence of whatever the minister had taught them and told me that they did what they did in order to save me. They didn’t believe their daughter who was talking with them face to face, but instead they believed the media and the minister. That makes me angry and at the same time brings me sorrow. I want to love them and they want to love me, but the twisted information about the church, which was put into my parents’ brains by the minister, created a great wall between us. My physical body healed, but my heart has not.

Whenever we talk about the church, my mother still has a strong expression of hatred on her face. Because of my mother’s influence, even my uncle and aunt and my brother’s families avoid bringing up the church issue. The kidnapping and confinement dropped a shadow over our family that remains even now.

I really hope that the true story of these criminal activities will be revealed to the public so the eyes of all the relatives of Unification Church members can be opened.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 01:06