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(1) Confinement in Niigata
When I was staying at my parents’ house in Nishi-Tokyo City on the night of September 11, 1995, the peaceful atmosphere changed amid rising tension. My father said to me, “Toru, I have something to talk to you about.” He started to criticize the Unification Church. Then he said, “Let’s move to another place.” I thought, “I am trapped again.” I said, “We can talk here,” and I protested for a while while seated. Then my brother’s wife said, “We have better things to do than staying here. Let’s go.” My brother and father held me from both sides and forcefully lifted me up. As my mother, brother’s wife, sister, and several men coming out of their hiding places in the garden had surrounded me, I had no way to resist. I was dragged out of the house, forcefully pushed into a van and abducted.
I was shocked and felt fearful that my family had kidnapped me again in spite of their promise not to do it again. I was in despair and lost my drive to resist as I realized that my family had fully prepared for this event by mobilizing men and letting them hide in the garden to prevent me from escaping. I learned later that one man hiding in the garden was an employee of Tap Co., Ltd, which Miyamura owned.
My family members and strangers (possibly my uncle was one) were in the van. I couldn’t recognize the driver. I was forced to sit in the middle of the seat in the far back row, and my brother sat on the right hand side and my father sat on the left. My father always held my arm. I furiously protested to my family, “You said you wouldn’t do it again.” No reply came from my family members. I asked, “Where are you taking me?” My brother replied, “You will know when we get there.” He didn’t tell me the destination. I was taken to Niigata under confinement in the van.
Nature called in the van on the way to the destination. I demanded that I had to go to the toilet. My family members did not allow me to go to the toilet and gave me a plastic portable toilet instead and told me to use it. I had to relieve myself in the van while among strangers. It was very humiliating to me. No one talked in the van, and the atmosphere was very tense.
We arrived at the apartment building called “Palace Mansion Tamon.” (I found out the name of the apartment later from the police who investigated the case.) I was forced to get out of the van, urged by my father and brother. I thought, “They have prepared a room to confine me, though they promised not to do it again. They have fully prepared for the abduction plan.” My brother and father grabbed my arms, surrounded by other family members and the driver, and I was taken to room #607. I didn’t have any energy left to resist fiercely as a result of my frustration and misery at being betrayed by my own family.
Security locks called “Window Lock” (Pic. 2) were fitted on all of the windows of the room, so the windows couldn’t be opened from inside. A window lock was fitted on the door of room “A” (see Chart 2), so the door of room “A” was locked permanently. I never saw the door opened.
My father was holding a key of the front door to unlock it from inside when the Christian minister Matsunaga and former UC members visited the apartment. I witnessed this by accident when I came out of the toilet, which was when Matsunaga and his assistants arrived. I have no doubt that the front door was locked from inside after I was brought in.
The memory of my suffering from the previous confinement in the Keio Plaza Hotel and the forcible de-conversion process eight years earlier was recalled, and I couldn’t go to sleep, imagining the suffering would start again, and I had a sudden urge to shout. Just abduction, confinement and having no freedom would cause people immeasurable amounts of distress and pain. But on top of that, abduction and confinement for the purpose of forcible de-conversion tramples on my faith, which is more precious and important than my own life. There are no words to express my fear and distress that I wouldn’t be released until I abandoned my faith.
In the room, my parents, sister and my brother’s wife were always monitoring me. A few days later, my father said to me, “Toru, can you please tell us about the Divine Principle which you believe?”
This is a systematic method that deprogrammers instruct family members to use in forcible de-conversion. Deprogrammers let the victim explain the doctrine they believe. Then after family members listen to the victim’s explanation, they would say, “I understand what you explained. This time, please listen to our explanation.” So they make a chance for deprogrammers to intervene as a third party.
I was furious and thought that I didn’t need to explain anything under forcible confinement. But out of the desire that I wanted to be free as quickly as possible, I explained the Divine Principle to my family by drawing charts on writing pads. When my explanation finished a week later, as I expected my father said, “There is a Christian minister who knows about the Unification Church very well. I want you to listen to him.”
Soon after, Pastor Matsunaga started to visit the apartment, accompanying some former UC members. My blood boiled with overwhelming indignation to see a Christian minister visiting me in forced and inhumane custody in order to carry out forcible de-conversion. Matsunaga opened his talk by saying “The Unification Church is a problematic group.” He visited me in the apartment a few times a week, totaling 20 to 30 times. He repeated criticism against the doctrine and founder of the church and forced me to abandon my belief.
Matsunaga compared the established Christian churches with the Unification Church and insulted me by saying, “Can’t you distinguish *miso from *kuso?” He asked me, “The word of the Messiah comes from the Bible. Why is Sun Myung Moon a Messiah? Please explain, based on the Bible.” I replied, “Everyone has freedom what to believe. I became a UC member as I was impressed with the Divine Principle. If you want to break my faith, present me something greater than the Divine Principle, instead of criticizing.” Matsunaga answered, “I was asked by your parents to persuade you (not to witness you to the Christian church). The first thing you have to do is to look at the problematic Unification Church. This is a place for such discussion.” I opposed by saying, “It is impossible to have such a discussion under this kind of forcible environment. You are a coward. The UC which you criticize never confines people in order to gain members.” He didn’t listen to me or show any prick of conscience. His attitude made my blood boil.
*Translator’s Note: Miso = bean paste = something valuable, kuso = turd = something worthless; they have something in common in color and shape.
On one occasion, Matsunaga criticized the Divine Principle, which explains the UC doctrine, “The Divine Principle says adultery is the most serious sin, but this is wrong. In the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, adultery is the seventh commandment, not the first. The son of man is a man. The young of a monkey is a monkey. Christ, son of God, is surely God. Why can man become a son of God? Christ, son of God, mustn’t be someone other than Jesus, who is God himself. Sun Myung Moon, who is a human, definitely can’t be a messiah.” Matsunaga regarded his church doctrine, which he believes, as absolute, and on the other hand he regarded the UC doctrine as heretical and criticized it. Matsunaga sometimes raised his voice when excited and yelled at me, “The Unification Church is a criminal group. A man who always says money, money, money can’t be a Messiah. He is completely different from Jesus.” He caused me mental distress.
At the same time, a total of around 20 former UC members who were deprogrammed by Matsunaga visited the apartment by turns, and I was forced to listen to their stories of why they quit the church. Among the visitors were A (female), Mr. Hiroaki Koike (pastor at the Niitsu Fukuin Church in Niigata), B (male), C (male). Their stories were always critical comments of the UC, its teachings and the founder. I was forced to listen day after day in the closed space to their stories, which I did not want to hear. I had unbearable pain, and I felt I would become mentally ill. I had to pray to God, “I may be going mad. If so, I’m won’t be able to worship you. Please protect me.”
I was surrounded by Matsunaga, former UC members and family members in a prison-like confinement. They as a group shot criticism at me. This felt exactly the same as the witch-hunt Inquisition in the medieval Christian church. When I was experiencing such acts of barbarism in modern Japan, which guarantees freedom and democracy, I couldn’t help but wonder if Japan is really a state governed by the rule of law.
Among the UC members who renounced the UC after undergoing Matsunaga’s de-conversion process, there were some people who commuted to Matsunaga’s church for rehabilitation purposes after their release from forced confinement. They stated that Matsunaga at that time conducted study sessions every Saturday afternoon to teach how to remove children from the UC for around 20 parents who wanted their children to withdraw from the UC at Niitsu Fukuin Christ Church in Niigata, to which Matsunaga himself belonged. At the study sessions, they showed eight kinds of videos to teach the reality of the UC and how UC members think. In the video, Matsunaga himself was talking.
Especially the videos titled “Handling 1 & 2” explained how parents should behave before and during the persuasion process in confinement in order to de-convert children, and also the videos showed how to deal with the period after confinement. Parents of UC followers attended the study sessions and watched the videos over and over.
Parents were taught that UC church members couldn’t be removed from the UC by any other method except persuasion involving abduction and confinement. If parents consulted with Matsunaga, he suggested that they attend a two-day seminar. This seminar was held in order to train and educate parents, so the parents could carry out abduction and confinement for their children who are UC followers. The most important part of the seminar was simulated training of how to abduct and confine children. Matsunaga himself gave lectures on specific contents for abduction and confinement, using a blackboard.
Mr. Hirohisa Koide, who attended the seminar with Matsunaga many times and even gave lectures for the seminar, has testified in detail about the very specific instructions of the methods to use. Mr. Koide also accompanied Matsunaga to an apartment in Niigata called Royal Corp to make a room ready for confinement. He was asked to hold the chain-type lock, which was used to lock the front door from inside, and he installed special tools on the windows so that they couldn’t be opened from inside. Also he nailed down the sliding doors to make them unusable. These jobs were done according to Matsunaga’s instructions. I can’t help but feel anger and indignation toward the pastor who was instructing people to do something dreadful and awful from behind the scenes. A pastor is supposed to give people consolation for their soul.
It is almost impossible that the parents of UC members, who had no experience or knowledge of de-conversion, could plan on their own and carry it out without Matsunaga’s education and instruction. No normal person can think of such a fully prepared plan and perfectly organized abduction/confinement process. My parents carried out forcible de-conversion by abduction and confinement three times for their three children. I have no doubt that my parents asked Matsunaga for consultation and instruction.
It seemed as if they had an arrangement of how many times to knock on the door when Matsunaga or former UC members visited the apartment. I always heard knocks on the door a few times, like a signal. Then my family members looked nervous and hurried to the door to welcome them. When I heard the sound of the knocks, my body filled with tension and a tremendous sense of discomfort, and blood drained from my face.
Even though three years have passed since my release from confinement, I still suffer the after-effects. When I hear the sound of a knock on the door, I get a chill and a feeling of discomfort attacks me.
As my brother was working in Tokyo, he only visited the apartment occasionally. Whenever he came, he used to ask me, “What are you thinking now? How about Pastor Matsunaga’s talk? Are you still confident in the Principle (the doctrine of the UC)? ” My brother must have been checking how the persuasion was progressing and how much I was free from so-called mind control. I felt unspeakable anger and disgust toward their methods, which controlled information under forcible confinement and were intrusive to my heart (my thoughts and creed).
I had a fiancée whom I met at the UC wedding a month before my abduction and we had pledged our love for the future. As I couldn’t contact her, I thought in my mind, “What is she doing now? She must be worrying about me. She must be looking for me.” My heart ached.
Around the end of December 1995, when three and a half months had passed since the confinement, I judged that it would be impossible to be released from this situation. I decided to pretend to renounce the church against my will in order to escape. As a sign of my willingness to withdraw from the church, I wrote a “letter of withdrawal” from the Unification Church against my will. After I wrote the letter, Matsunaga instructed me to write a report on why I decided to leave the UC. I was made to write a 10-page report.
It was used as a test to see whether I had really abandoned my faith in the UC. Since I kept faith in the UC, to write such a thing was nothing more than pain. I hid my true thoughts with the hope that I could be released as soon as possible, and I wrote the letter as Matsunaga and my family members wished.
Even if I wanted to escape from the apartment, I could not act on it during the pretension period. It was a time that caused me a considerable degree of tension. If, for example, I approached the front door to check the lock and my pretension were discovered, it would be more difficult to be released and Pastor Matsunaga would restart his deprogramming work on me, and I would be forced to listen to more defamation and abuse. It was an unbearable experience.
Therefore I couldn’t take any action that would make my captors doubt that I had given up my faith during this period, until the time I could definitely escape arrived. I could do nothing but wait patiently for the time I could run away perfectly. But my family kept on confining me even after I declared that I would withdraw from the church. As I had run away from the first confinement in 1987 by pretending to renounce the church, my family became more cautious.
I was not allowed to go outside. I became impatient and said to my family, “Can I go for a walk even for a short while as I feel suffocated in this apartment?” My family did not allow me to do so. Time passed and I almost burst with growing frustration. As I was fuming against the illicit confinement, in my mind I accused my family, “One year has already passed since I wrote a withdrawal letter. Why won’t you allow me even to go for a walk?” I judged that such an accusation would delay my release. At the beginning of 1997, I decided not to mention such things, and I just kept on waiting very patiently for the day when I would be released from the apartment.
In March 1996, my father, who was monitoring me in the apartment, suddenly became ill and was hospitalized. He had a heart bypass operation. I was not released at all. After the operation, he came back to the apartment. In March 1997, he was hospitalized again with cancer and died on June 22, 1997. (He was 65 years old.) Because of my father’s hospitalization, there was a time when there was only a woman in the apartment to monitor me. But due to the special lock on the front door and the reason above I couldn’t do anything but continue waiting until the moment would arrive to escape perfectly.