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Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements

 

Michiyo Miyakoshi

 

Confined: February 24, 1993-June 6, 1993

Faith-breakers: Rev. Rikio Matsuzawa, Rev. Mamoru Takazawa, Atsuyoshi Ojima

 

WRITTEN STATEMENT

December 30, 1994

 

Profile

 

I met the Unification Church inMarch 1987 in Osaka City. When I learned about the Principle, which is a straightforward solution to the fundamental issues of life, I felt that my heart was liberated. I then made a determination to follow Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who has dedicated his life for God, shouldering the burdens of humanity.

 

My parents were of the thinking that "religion is for the weak; God doesn't exist." My father (Muneo) used to drink and come home late; he quarreled constantly with my mother (Kimiko), and there was a time they spoke of divorce.

 

The Blessing and its aftermath

 

In June 1992, I went home to tell them of my intent to take part in the International Marriage Blessing Ceremony (Blessing) of 30,000 couples. At the time, it seemed my parents didn't understand it well. However, from about the end of June, there was quite a bit of biased news coverage related to the international weddings of the Unification Church, and my parents began to hate the Church.

 

On August 13, my Blessing partner (Mr. Ju-woo Lee, who is Korean) and I decided to marry. At the time, there were many abduction and confinement cases occurring nationwide in Japan, and we knew it was a serious matter, so I called my parents to let them know and left for Korea. We participated in the August 25 Blessing and after returning, I wrote my parents a detailed report of the marriage.

 

After this, my father started to make "urgent calls" to the Tokyo Church, and finally even claimed that "Mother committed suicide." I pledged to make my parents understand my faith, no matter how many years it took, and went home on September 10. My father had been drinking and yelled that I was a fanatic. Without my knowing it, he called the church, telling them to send a resignation form as I wished to quit.

 

I asked my parents several times to become a witness for my marriage registration, but they ignored me. So, I had to ask someone else, and we registered as a married couple on February 3, 1993. I made flight reservations to visit Korea from March 3-5, to explain to my husband about the current situation.

 

From January of that year, my mother was seeking out former church members. She wanted them to talk to me. In early February, she met a lawyer named Mr. Koizumi in the Citizens Consulting Center of Takatsuki City and was introduced to Rev. Matsuzawa of the Osaka Eikou Church there. My father had made an appointment for February 27, with someone from the Toyonaka Unification Church, to hear about the Blessing, but this had actually been a ruse to put me off guard.

 

Confinement Summary

 

From February 24 to June 6, 1993, for a period of 103 days, I was confined in Apartment 405 of the Maison Keihan apartment building, located at 1-57 Chuo, Joutou-ku, Osaka City, and my freedom was restricted. [See below.]

 

During this time, a number of individuals came to me dozens of times to denounce the Divine Principle, the Unification Church and its founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

 

Those individuals include:

Rev. Rikio Matsuzawa of the Japan Holiness Movement, Osaka Eikou Christian Church (2-21-11 Shigino-Higashi, Joutou-ku, Osaka City)

Rev. Mamoru Takazawa of the Kobe Shin Church (1-1-17 Kagoike-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe City)

Atsuyoshi Ojima, [and ex-UC member who became] a member the West Japan Evangelical Lutheran Aotani Church (2-3-5 Nakajima-dori, Chuo-ku)

 

I was made to hear their slander and abuse, and they demanded that I give up my faith in the Unification Church. For me, to abandon my faith is to abandon my life. I endured this confinement only with the wish that my family would understand the greatness of the Principle, but due to these ministers, my relationship with my parents deteriorated. The mental as well as physical pain that I went through due to this confinement is beyond words and still continues to affect all of us. These acts by such ministers not only tore the family apart but also legally and ethically should never be tolerated.

 

Kidnapping and confinement

 

On February 24, I went shopping, then to my parents' home about 8:00 pm. Soon, the phone rang, and my mother answered it, saying, "Yes, that's our son. No! the Joutou police? Yes, I'll be right there." She was pale and said, "Tomoyuki [our family’s second son] got into a car accident near the Joutou police station and was taken to a hospital."

 

My father drove with my mother next to him; Hidekazu (first son) was in the back seat, next to me, and we headed for the Higashi Osaka Hospital (1-7-22 Chuo, Joutou-ku, Osaka City). When we approached the hospital, they pretended to look for parking and stopped in front of a nearby apartment building, the Maison Keihan. As I tried to get out and hurry to the hospital, my father stood in front of me, and my brother, who is quite large, held my hands. The two of them pushed me toward the apartment. As I was being dragged inside, I banged on the doors of the second- and third-floor apartments and pushed the doorbells, shouting, "Help me!" but my mother or possibly someone else covered my mouth.

 

When I was pushed into Apartment No. 405, I saw the second son (my brother) who had supposedly been in an accident, and knew that I had been trapped.

 

It was a one-room apartment, about 15 feet square, with a kitchen, bath and toilet. The front door had a padlock on it with a short chain, so that it could not be opened. My father said, "We've broken the lock on the bathroom door, so you can't lock yourself in." It seemed that another abducted member had locked himself in the bathroom each time a minister came, and so my family had been instructed to do this.

 

I asked, "What about your job?" and my father replied, "I called in to say I'm not well and will be taking leave for a while."

 

Forced Conversion

 

My mother, who had persistently refused to read any UC literature, even though I had asked many times, now started to insist, "Let's hear what you've been studying for the past six years." It was so clear that a minister had instructed them to do this.

 

In a couple of days, Rev. Matsuzawa and three former members (Imanishi, Hattori and Hisako Tanaka) came over. As it was seven to one, I protested every day, saying, "If we don't call the same number of church members, this will not be fair." Yet, I was totally ignored. On the other hand, I was persistently asked to give up my faith.

 

The ex-church members called this "protective custody." to be followed by “rehabilitation” at the Osaka Eikou Church. It was as if I were a sick person. When I said, "I'll sue you!" the minister would threaten, "Sue us, if you can. I've already gone up to the Supreme Court. I'm not afraid."

 

My father also threatened me, "I won't let you out until you quit. I can do this for the rest of my life. If you don't quit in six months, I'm going to put you in a mental ward." He drank every night and became violent. It was as if he had become possessed, and I thought that I could really be killed if this went on.

 

About 20 days after I was locked up, a salesperson rang the doorbell. I shouted, "Help me!" and banged on the door. This person called the police right away, but my mother spoke with the officer outside the door, and it was brushed under the carpet as "a parent-child (family) issue."

 

About 35 days into the confinement, Rev. Matsuzawa was hospitalized for surgery, and Rev. Mamoru Takazawa came in his place. This man bragged, "I've been a pastor for 21 years and last year I had 24 people quit the Unification Church; the year before that, 21 people quit." In his talks, he mentioned the names of leftist lawyers and Mrs. Teruko Honma of the "Association of Parents against Unificationism," and it was obvious that they were systematically trying to crush the church. When I tried to refute him, he would start yelling in a loud voice and leave quickly without a prayer. It made me wonder whether this man was truly a minister or just an activist.

 

Ten days after Rev. Takazawa started coming, I was able to slip a letter asking for habeas corpus, through a crack in the door,. This was later discovered by my father, who beat me severely. Rev. Takazawa yelled at me, "Are you thinking to get away again?!" He also spoke about my marriage registration, "I'll get a copy of that and do something about it." Seeing that he was even trying to erase the fact of my marriage, I really felt like dying.

 

Three days later, a policeman dropped by to confirm the mailing address. I made a racket and said, "Help me, I'm locked up here!" so he came inside and heard me out. Then, he said, "I'll go and discuss this with my senior, so please settle down." I harbored a hope that I could finally be set free. However, my father went to the police station and explained the situation, and he said that the policeman said, "I won't interfere with a religious issue." When the landlord of the apartment came to tell us to "get out," my father also persuaded him.

 

From about the 50th day on, I was with my mother only during the day, so I probably could have overpowered her and left. But if I acted roughly toward her, I knew that we would never hear the end of it--that "people of the Unification Church beat up on the weak." Therefore, I prayed to God desperately about what I should do.

 

One day, after Rev. Takazawa left, I couldn't hold it in any longer and started beating on the walls and broke down in tears. I kept shouting that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah in a loud voice. My right hand became swollen and I had no strength left. Inwardly, I felt glad that I would not be tempted to hurt my mother any longer.

 

My parents became frustrated that I did not change after two months, and on about the 80th day, while my mother was out for half an hour to shop, my father beat me. I fell, and because of that the glass of the veranda door cracked. My father continued to grab my hair and kicked me for the next 20 minutes.

 

Rev. Takazawa talked about a former member who was locked up 10 times and finally left the church, saying he would repeat my confinement as many times as needed. He then scared my parents and tried to prolong the confinement by saying, "If you let this girl out now, she will quickly go to Korea. That's how the Unification Church works." Unable to put up with this any longer, I accused him, "Do you want our family to come together or break us up?" He replied irresponsibly, "Neither."

 

On about the 90th day, Rev. Takazawa's wife was hospitalized for a uterine condition, and he stopped coming. Atsuyoshi Ojima came in his place. This man was about 40 years old, and he had read most of the books related to the Unification Church, to find fault with the church. Ojima said, "I was baptized while in junior high school but have never experienced the Holy Spirit. I have never encountered Jesus Christ."

 

In this way, I persevered through 103 days of untruth, threats and violence. Whatever they said to me, my conviction about the truth of the Unification Principles and Rev. Sun Myung Moon did not change.

 

Escape

 

Late at night of the 102nd day, my father came to the apartment drunk again. The smell of liquor and garlic filled the small room, and I couldn't sleep at all that night. The following day was Sunday, and about 5:40 am, my mother scolded my father, saying, "Don't you feel sorry for Michiyo?" and went out to buy some milk.

 

My mother used to go to the family home to clean on Sundays, so after she returned to the apartment with the milk, she locked only a part of the door, without the chain, since she intended to go out right away. I was hoping my mother would go into the toilet, and when she actually did so, I thought, "This is my only chance." I dashed out barefoot.

 

My father was lying down with his eyes closed, but he noticed and shouted, "Hey!" Without looking back, I ran with all my might. Jumping down the stairs, I twisted my right foot but ran out into the street for about 50 meters and hid in an alley. A dog barked. I went over one fence and rang the doorbell of a flat on the first floor. I explained the situation to a young couple who answered the door, and they helped to hide me until a member of the Toyonaka Church came to pick me up. About 9:00 am, I was able to leave their place.

 

Conclusion

The attempted abduction, confinement and forced conversion did not result from [an independent] decision or the wisdom of my parents and my siblings. It followed an amazingly meticulous plan, which was clearly organized by Rev. Matsuzawa, Rev. Takazawa, ex-member Ojima and his family, as well as leftist lawyers, who were all well-versed in abduction and confinement techniques.

 

I feel it is absolutely wrong to undermine freedom of faith and religion this way. There are numerous Unification Church members who are unable to return home or inform their families of their whereabouts, because their families are associated with anti-Unificationist organizations. They are going through tremendous mental anguish.

 

In submitting my statement, I pray that further damage caused by abductions, confinements and forced conversions will never take place again.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 01:08