Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements
Confined: c. September 22, 1996 - February 22, 1997,
Faith-breakers: Takeo Funada, Motoko Arita
STATEMENT OF FACTS
April 13, 2010
I was born on December 30, 1961, as the first son of my father Yutaka and my mother Kazuko in the Toyota city of the Aichi prefecture. In May 1981, when I was a freshman at Waseda University School of Law, I was introduced to the Unification Church (UC) teaching by a UC missionary and started to go to the Nakano Church to study the Divine Principle. I joined the UC in October of that year. In October 1988, I participated in the Holy Blessing Ceremony held in Korea, and in November 1994, I started out my family life with my wife Kumiko in an apartment in Nakaochiai of the Shinjuku ward.
Kidnapping and confinement
I believe that it was September 22, 1996, that my wife and I participated in a Buddhist memorial service for my paternal grandfather in Washizu of Konishi city in Shizuoka prefecture. We went to my relatives’ house in Mikkabi-cho of Hamamatsu city after the service, and my wife and I were confined in different places. The house where we were kidnapped belonged to the brother of my father’s stepmother, Kinu Tojo (her original family name was Agata).
Something about this event had bothered me from the first, because they were having the Buddhist memorial service in September when it was originally to be held in February, but since my father said, “We decided to do it in September because of some people’s situation,” I did not bother to ask any further questions. After the service, my relatives behaved distantly and seemed tense. We rode in the car my mother drove, but she was also strangely tense and had a rough look on her face.
While we were drinking tea at the Agatas, my father suddenly clutched my arm with great power so I could not escape. The next moment, the fusumadoor opened, and to my surprise, my wife‘s relatives and mine came out of the room.
My wife and I were separated from each other and were taken to the confinement places in different vans. I acted up wildly and shouted, “Help me!” many times, but numerous relatives grabbed my arms and legs and carried me like a mikoshiportable shrine. I was pushed into the back seat of the van. I clearly remember that my aunt, Takako Iwata, was one of the relatives other than my parents who grabbed my limbs and pushed me into the van .
My cousin, Kozo Kamiya, drove the van, and my parents and my uncle, Hiroji Kamiya, sat around me in the back seat.
It was a little after noon when I was kidnapped, but when we arrived at the apartment it was already dark outside. My uncle Chikao Iwase, who rode in another car, grabbed me by the arm and made me get on the elevator. I no longer remember at which floor we got off.
My relatives hid my shoes as soon as I entered the apartment. I remember clearly that my parents and three cousins were in the room: the sons of my mother’s elder brother, Kozo and Yukihiro Kamiya, and the son of my mother’s younger sister, Koji.
My parents kneeled down on the floor and apologized to me. I guess they were aware that they were doing something very bad. What was bizarre was that my father kept recording my conversation. I asked my father, “Why are you recording our conversation? Who’s going to listen to it?” but he would not answer. It was not hard to imagine that he was doing it to ask the mastermind for advice after having him listen to it.
The apartment was in Kyoto city, but my relatives did not answer my question, “Where are we?” for some time. It was during election time, and I heard a voice from Bunmei Ibuki’s campaign car, but I did not know Ibuki’s constituency back then. I was able to find out that I was in Kyoto for the first time when Motoko Arita, a former UC member who used to visit me to break my faith, mentioned the words “Kyoto station” during our conversation one day.
A chain and padlock dangled from the apartment door, and my father kept the key with him. Basically, my parents stayed with me at all times and at least one of my relatives was always in the room, so there were at least three people keeping watch over me. I was confined in the back room, and my father always watched me from near the entrance. The windows could not open as much as 10 cm. The TV only showed the videos brought by the faith-breakers, and there was no radio, newspapers or telephone. “I was told that those [TV, radio, newspapers] are not good for you,” said my father. It was obvious from this statement that there was a mastermind in the background giving direction to my family.
The relatives who came to the apartment were my younger sister, Yoshiko Harada; my uncles, Shigeru Tojo (deceased) and Hiroji Kamiya; my aunts, Takako Iwata and Mitsuko Iwase and her husband Chikao Iwase; and my mother’s aunt (deceased). They stayed in cycles of one to two weeks, and it seemed like they were taking turns
Those who came to the apartment other than my family and relatives were former UC members who had converted and become members of the Kyoto Saint’s Church of the Jesus Christ Church in Japan (JCCJ): Motoko Arita, Araki (female), Ano (female) and another female whose name I do not remember. The two who came often were Motoko Arita and Araki.
Since I thought my family would not release me unless I had a talk with the mastermind Christian minister, I yelled at Araki when she came to break my faith one day. “I’ve finished with an idiot like you. Bring the minister who’s pulling the strings behind the scene.” Araki said, “I will tell him what you said,” and left. Takeo Funada, a minister of the Kyoto Saint’s Church of JCCJ, came the next time. There were times when he brought a Korean minister named Lee and a male member with him.
When the faith-breakers (relatives, ministers and former UC members who are now Christian) came to the apartment, they knocked the door in a certain way so my parents could recognize them. They knocked on the door three times but took a brief pause before the first and second knocks: knock---knock-knock.
I always told them to let me out, but my relatives insisted that they would never let me out unless I resigned from the UC.
Minister Takeo Funada and the former UC members like Motoko Arita and Araki repeatedly told me stories that emphasized how pathetic the UC founder, his family, adherents and organization were and how they went against social morals. Then they emphasized how wonderful their Christian church was. I think they were trying to make me convert and become a member of the Kyoto Saint’s Church.
“What you are doing is in violation of basic human rights and is against Articles 19 and 20 of the Constitution of Japan. According to the Penal Code, it is regarded as the crimes of abduction and confinement and its inducement and accessories,” I told my relatives, the ministers and the former UC members, but they did not listen to me. I also told the ministers and the former UC members, “I was deceived and was kidnapped and am confined against my will. You are violating my human rights and taking away my happy family life. Don’t you feel any guilt as a Christian?” but they did not respond.
Since I showed no sign of renouncing my faith, my relatives lost their sense of unity, and my uncle, Hiroji Kamiya, persuaded my parents to release me. I believe it was February 22, 1997, when I was released.
Meanwhile, although my wife Kumiko had been released from confinement, she was still held under house arrest at her parents’ house in Uenomura, Tano-gun of the Gunma prefecture. My parents, my uncle and I went there to persuade her parents to release her, but we were turned away by her parents, elder brother and elder sister. “You have to move from your apartment because the UC members know where it is. Get a job that has nothing to do with the UC. Otherwise, we will not release Kumiko,” they said.
It was in March when Kumiko was finally released. Perhaps her family felt secure because I got a job that had nothing to do with the UC. They released her under the condition that we move to a place where UC members would no longer visit us. It was six months after the kidnapping.