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Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements

K. M. (name withheld by request)

Confined: December 1989

Faith-breakers: Hideo Iijima

WRITTEN STATEMENT

[No date]

 

I was born April 18, 1968, in Shizuoka prefecture. My father’s name is Yasuo and mother’s Namiko. After I graduated from junior college in April 1989, I got a job as a dietician in a hospital. At the same time I was introduced to the teachings of the Unification Church. I joined the Unification Church in July 1989. My plan was to quit my job in December to devote myself to church activities.

 

At that time a pastor in my neighborhood was against the Unification Church and actively participated in kidnapping and confinement of church members and withdrawal persuasion. Before my kidnapping there was a case of another two Unification Church members being kidnapped and their withdrawal. The details of my church membership were given to the anti-church pastor through a confined church member who withdrew.

 

I was working at Seirei Hamamatsu Hospital, a Christian hospital in Naka ward, Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka prefecture. There was a pastor at the hospital named Hideo Iijima who was involved in an opposition movement to the Unification Church. Through Pastor Iijima, my parents were contacted and the pastor told my parents, “If your daughter devotes herself, you will lose contact and you will not be able to communicate with her; she will become like a missing person.” This made my parents anxious and they didn’t have any knowledge of the Unification Church, so they lost their heads through the pastor’s words. Furthermore, my last day of work was near and my parents, being unable to understand either circumstance well, could not understand this situation, so they followed the pastor’s advice and decided to confine me and do withdrawal persuasion.

 

In December 1989, I finished work around 8:00 pm and changed my clothes in the locker room. A colleague had already changed and left, so I was the last person to finish. When I came out of the changing room, suddenly my parents and relatives took hold of my arms on both sides, so I was kidnapped inside the hospital. I think the other people I work with had been informed about this in advance. I shouted, “Stop! Help!” but nobody helped me. They took me by force to a car that was parked in the delivery entrance of the hospital.

 

Because it was night and dark, I did not know where they were taking me. We arrived at the General Institution of Seirei Mikatabara Hospital in Kita ward, Hamamatsu city, a Christian hospital where I had worked previously. There is also a school and hospice at that location. They took me to one room used as a staff apartment on the top floor of the elderly care nursing facility.

 

I was free to open the patio door on to the veranda of the room at any time. However, there was a lock on the entrance to the room. The hospital is located in the countryside, so the view was nice but there was little traffic and no one passed by on the street, so I couldn’t ask for help. The room is on or around the third floor so I thought it was impossible to escape by jumping. I received soft meals brought in from the nursing home

 

The pastor [Iijima?] criticized the Unification Church and Divine Principle, which is the doctrine of the Unification Church, as well as spoke about Reverend Moon. He brought me a book of life story testimonies of ex-church believers and demanded that I read it.

 

My parents and relatives had total faith in the stories of the pastor as he steadily planted a negative image of the church. He said many times that “the church members could not think with their own head.” He handled me as if I were crazy. No one listened to me when I was speaking, as they thought that whatever I said was crazy. So my feeling was that I would really become crazy. I thought that if this situation continued, my parents’ image of the church would just become worse, so I must escape as soon as possible.

 

Several days later, I said, “So, I didn’t know, Principle is wrong, I quit.” I pretended to withdraw from the church. I had joined only a few months previously, so the pastor judged I didn’t have a strong faith. Thus, I was liberated from confinement after about one week. My parents paid 100,000 yen to the pastor as a donation.

 

When I saw my parents, who believed I had withdrawn from the Unification Church, I could see they were relieved. I couldn’t determine to return to the church, as leaving home immediately would truly hurt my parents’ heart as if I had betrayed them. A few days after returning home, however, my parents went back to work so I left a note saying, “I’m going shopping.” Then I left home. It was only about one week of confinement, but it was truly difficult and my heart was broken.

 

However, the damage of the kidnapping and confinement is not over for me. After participating in the Blessing of 360,000 couples in August 1995, my spouse was kidnapped and confined in October 1996. My husband returned after approximately three months by pretending to withdraw from the church. After that, we started our family in 1998 and presently have three children. I have not met the parents of my husband. About two years ago, my husband’s father died; even just before his death we could not meet him. Our relatives said that until you quit the Unification Church you are not our children and the grandchildren are not our grandchildren.

 

My family continues to suffer from the kidnapping and confinement. Kidnapping and confinement completely destroys the family relationship. It is not easy to return to the parent and child relationship because the parents unilaterally received only bad information about the church. I hope there can be a solution as soon as possible to this problem of kidnapping and confinement and trampling on freedom of faith as well as a way to prevent the destruction of the family relationship.

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