Toru Goto's Statement to the Tokyo District Court
Mr. Toru Goto (a victim of 12 years and 5 months of confinement) filed a civil suit in February 2011, against several relatives, a Christian minister and a professional “deprogrammer” who were involved in his confinement and attempted faith-breaking. The Support Committee for Toru Goto’s Court Case has published the documents submitted to the court on its website (http://antihogosettoku.blog111.fc2.com/). The current statement was translated into English by Mr. Yoshi Fujiwara in Australia and he published the translation on his blog (http:// humanrightslink.blogspot.com/2011/06/gotos-statement-to-tokyo-district-court.html ). The English has been further edited by ICRF. It represents the most detailed account by Mr. Goto of his long ordeal.
Joining Unification Church (1986)
First Confinement (October 1987–November 1987)
After Escape from First Confinement
(1) Confinement in Niigata (September 1995)
(2) Transferred to First Apartment in Tokyo (1997)
(3) Transferred to Second Apartment in Tokyo (December 1997)
(4) Miyamura's Deprogramming Work
(5) First Hunger Strike – 21 days
(6) Second Hunger Strike – 21 days
(7) Third Hunger Strike – 30 days
(8) Release from My Prison
Toru Goto's Statement
April 21, 2011, Kita-ku, Tokyo
I was born in Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata prefecture, on November 2, 1963, as a second son. My father was born on November 25, 1931, and died on June 22, 1997. My mother was born on December 10, 1932, and is currently 78 years old. I have an elder brother (born on March 28, 1961, and currently 50 years old) and a younger sister (born February 14, 1967, and currently 43 years old).
I entered Oonoda Primary School of Musashino city in Tokyo. I was transferred to Hoya Daiichi Primary School of Hoya city in Tokyo and graduated in March 1976.
I entered Seiran Junior High School of Hoya city. I was transferred to Yachiyo Daini Junior High School of Yachiyo city in Kumamoto and graduated in March 1979.
I entered Hikawa Senior High School of Kumamoto in April 1979 and graduated in March 1982.
I started as an architecture major in the Science and Engineering Department of Nihon University and graduated in March 1987.
I was employed by Taisei Construction Corporation in April 1987.
Joining the Unification Church
I was taken to a Video Center in Okachimachi, Tokyo, by my brother when I was in the fourth year at the university. The center was operated by the followers of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (known as the Unification Church). My brother had already become a member of the church when he invited me to learn the teachings. I was not so keen to learn. But I gave in to my brother’s enthusiasm and commuted to the Video Center.
I learned the Divine Principle, which is the doctrine of the Unification Church, via the video presentations and also by attending a three-day-seminar and a four-day-seminar.
At that time I was in the fourth year at university and was soon to become a member of society. Such a time should have been filled with hope. However, I felt depressed to hear of wars, crimes or divorces. I didn’t like my selfishness, and I was struggling as I could not find hope and value in life. I couldn’t talk to anyone about my internal suffering, which had no definite answer. During the holidays at university, I used to meditate at a fasting center in Fujisawa city, Kanagawa.
The Divine Principle, which my brother introduced to me, had a strong impact on me, especially its explanations of the existence of God, the purpose of the creation of God being the realization of love and joy, the relationship between God and humans being one of parent and child, the cause of unhappiness and sin is the fall of man, human history is the history of restoration and so on. The Divine Principle made me understand clearly the purpose and value of my life. It gave me hope when I was struggling in despair. It revived my dying soul to new life with uplifting joyfulness. I decided to join the Unification Church.
After attending the church seminars, I joined a university students’ organization called the Student Department. I lived together with other members at the church center, called Home. My brother also witnessed to my sister, who was a college student at the time. She learned the Divine Principle at the Video Center near her college and joined the church.
I graduated from the architecture program of the Science and Engineering Department of Nihon University in March 1987 and was employed by Taisei Construction Corporation in April 1987. I lived at the Okachimachi center (Home) and commuted to work.
In 1987, deprogramming operations were frequent, influenced by mass media reports. In May 1987, my brother was kidnapped, confined and forced into the deprogramming process when he was on his way to visit our parents.
My brother told me that his father met him on the way to his home. My brother thought, “It’s very unusual for my father to welcome me on the way home.” As soon as my father’s hand touched my brother, father shouted “Now!” Then strangers suddenly jumped out from a hiding place, attacked him and pushed him into a waiting van.
When the van stopped at a train crossing, my brother jumped out a window. Then he scuffled with father and his supporters. Someone reported this to the police, and they were all taken to the police station. Though my brother claimed that he was being kidnapped and asked desperately for help from the police, the police listened to his father and he was taken to the confinement site in the van.
One of the deprogrammers of my brother was Takashi Miyamura, who is a managing director of an advertising company called Tap Co. Ltd. Later Miyamura was involved in my second kidnapping and confinement. At that time Miyamura coordinated with a Christian minister, Satoshi Moriyama of Jesus Christ Church of Japan in Ogikubo, and the Ogikubo church became their base. They were asked by some parents to break their children’s faith in the Unification Church.
Some parents were on a waiting list. During the waiting period, the parents were trained in the methods of kidnapping, confinement and breaking faith. Miyamura organized a parents’ group called Suikei Kai. In the Suikei Kai, there was a system that the parents who had been successful in deprogramming their children helped the parents whose turn it was in kidnapping and taking children to the confinement room near the Okikubo Eiko Church. Then Miyamura visited the confinement site for the purpose of deprogramming them. Later, I had a chance to look at the list, and I saw many parents’ names. I heard that the waiting list contains a few hundred names.
After my brother left the church, he became a supporter of Miyamura in deprogramming church members. He was employed by Tap Co. Ltd. and became Miyamura’s assistant. My parents’ request to deprogram me was almost at the far end of the list. My brother later told me that the turn for my deprogramming was moved up in the queue because he had supported Miyamura’s deprogramming with such enthusiasm.
At that time, I worried so much about my brother and I couldn’t even sleep at night when he went missing. I looked for him everywhere I could, from home to a Christian church where I was told my brother stayed, but I couldn’t find him.
In October 1987, my father contacted me and said my brother wanted to see me. He told me to come to Shinjuku. I worried that I would be kidnapped, so two male Unification Church members came with me. I followed my father to the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku. I got on an elevator, but the two men with me became separated. I was taken to a room on a higher floor. My brother was waiting, and said, “I’ve decided to leave the church. I want you to learn what I learned.”
I noticed that some work was done on the door of the room, so the door would not open from inside. Therefore I couldn’t go out to the hallway. The hotel suite had two adjacent rooms connected by a door. The entrance and exit was through the next room. Of course the purpose of this arrangement was to prevent me from escaping. It was very shocking for me that my brother called me to the hotel to confine and deprogram me.
Soon after, Takashi Miyamura visited the room, accompanying former Unification Church (UC) members. In one instance, Miyamura asked one of his men, “What is the existence of Sun Myung Moon for you?” The man replied, “Like this” pointing at the cigarette butts that Miyamura, a heavy smoker, had left in the ashtray. I can’t forget the sense of humiliation when the man ridiculed me by saying this. The man’s face was filled with insult. I was furious about the deceptive confinement, and I locked myself in the toilet and shouted, “Get me out of here! Help!” The door was opened from outside, and I got dragged out of the toilet. I scuffled with my father and brother, but I was outnumbered and they overpowered me.
While I was forced to listen to their criticisms against the church or church doctrine by Miyamaura and the former UC members, I got the urge to break the window by throwing a chair. I lifted a chair up, but I stopped short of doing it as I thought it might hit apasserby. As I was forced to listen to the defamation of the church and its founder, I experienced unbearable pain. After a few days, I thought I would not be able to get out if I kept the faith. I pretended to abandon my faith against my will.
About a week later, I was taken to an apartment in Ogikubo, Sugunami-ku, from the Keio Plaza Hotel. I was confined in the apartment for almost a month. I had to attend the church service at the Ogikubo Eiko Chruch under the constant supervision of my parents and brother. Also I was forced to visit the nearby apartment where a UC church member was confined for deprogramming.
I wanted to help the church member in front of me who was suffering from the ongoing deprogramming process under the forceful confinement. But I had to give up my intention because I thought I would have to go through more relentless confinement and deprogramming if my pretension to leave the church were discovered.
Many former UC members who had left the church as a result of deprogramming by Miyamura and Moriyama attended the meetings at the Ogikubo Eiko Church. Some members among them were actively supporting Miyamura’s deprogramming operations, like my brother. At one time, I was forced to attend the Suikei Kai meeting held at a house just opposite the Ogikubo Eiko Church, and I witnessed Miyamura instructing parents on how kidnapping and confinement could help get their children out of the group.
In April of that year, I had entered a company as a newly graduated employee and been assigned to a construction site in Funabashi, Chiba, as a site supervisor. But as I was kidnapped all of sudden, I could not contact the company. I was not allowed to contact the company during the confinement and I was under constant scrutiny. I was forced to be absent from work for many weeks, and I felt pain to cause my company trouble.
Toward the end of November 1987, I was looking for a chance to escape. When I attended the Sunday service at the Ogikubo Eiko Church, I ran away from the church building by pretending to go the toilet and escaped to the Unification Church center.
After Escape from First Confinement
I was scared of another kidnapping attempt by my family after I returned to the center. I asked the church to transfer me to another department from the original department, which my brother knew. I assumed the name “Yuuji Suzuki” and could not tell my family where I was; I was in hiding. Whenever I saw a van sitting on the street, I was extremely fearful that someone might jump out from a hiding place, attack me and take me to the van.
In fact, at that time, many Unification Church members were reported missing all of a sudden. During the three years from 1990 to 1992, 941 members went missing. Of those, 233 members returned to the church. According to a survey of the 233 members, they were kidnapped and confined against their will in an attempt to break their faith. In 1992, only one year, there were 375 missing members. On average, more than one member was kidnapped and confined daily.
I thought, “Why do I have to be frightened like a medieval witch hunt in modern Japan, which guarantees religious freedom?” While I lamented the situation, I had no relaxed time, fearing “I may be kidnapped today.”
I wished to go back to work for the company I had joined in the spring. But if I went back to work, my family would know where I was. I couldn’t go back to work because of the fear that I might be kidnapped again. I had no other choice than to resign from the company, and I was involved in church work such as witnessing or educational activities in the church community.
I worried about my sister at that time, as my brother and I were kidnapped in a row. And the worry came true. At the beginning of 1989, my sister was kidnapped and left the church. I was stung with remorse for a while after that because I could not protect her from coercive faith breaking.
My brother joined the anti–Unification Church movement that Miyamura organized after he left the church. He filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court against the Unification Church, the so-called lost youth case in 1991.
In August, I attended a church wedding ceremony of 30,000 couples held in Seoul, South Korea, with a lady (Goto’s first fiancée) follower of the Unification Church. The wedding ceremony is the ceremony where we pledge that we will build a peaceful family with an eternal partner, and of course it’s my desire. But my fiancée left the church after she went through a coercive faith-breaking process done by her family.
Many months had passed since my first kidnapping/confinement. I was cautious to avoid the chance of a second kidnapping, but I thought things would remain unsettled. I started to talk with my family over the phone, sent letters to them and gave presents on their birthdays. Around 1992, my father told me on the phone, “I won’t do such a thing again.” He promised not to do it again. Then I let him know where I was, and I was able to communicate with my family members while they continued to oppose my faith in the Unification Church.
My brother married a woman in January 1995. His wife was a former Unification Church member who was kidnapped and confined by her family members, then deprogrammed by Miyamura and Yasutomo Matsunaga (a Christian minister of Niitsu Church, Japan Alliance Christ Church). After she left the UC, she became involved with anti–Unification Church activities, and she lodged a “lost youth” lawsuit at Niigata District Court in 1991.
I attended the 360,000 couples wedding ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, with my second fiancée. I had turned 31 years old in August 1995. I was thinking of quitting church work while keeping the faith of Unification Church and finding a job to prepare for married life and for the future. However, I was kidnapped and confined again in September 1995, so I could not find a job, and I could not start married life with my fiancée.
(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.
(2) Transferred to First Apartment in Tokyo (June 1997)
Soon after my father’s death, I was taken to my parents’ house in a van under scrutiny. The reason was to bid farewell to my father. I left my wallet, driver’s license, cash, etc in the apartment in Niigata as I thought I would be brought back there. My sister and my brother’s wife guided me to the front door of the apartment. A few men were waiting outside the front door, and everyone got in an elevator together, and we arrived at the ground floor. I was taken to a van surrounded by people. I noticed later that two of the men waiting were my.
A man who had visited the apartment for de-conversion purposes drove the van, and my brother’s wife sat next to the driver. In the middle row, several of my relatives sat in the middle and on the right hand side, and a former UC member (female) sat on the left. In the far back row, my sister sat on the right, and a former UC member (male) sat on the left, and I was made to sit in the middle, so this made it impossible for me to escape.
I struggled to keep calm as I experienced mixed feelings, which came from the shock and sadness of losing my father, nervousness that my pretension of leaving the church might be discovered and anger and indignation toward my family who did not release me from confinement and scrutiny. As mentioned before, I had to behave well, so my pretension would not be discovered. I had to continue waiting until the moment to escape without fail would come.
When I arrived at my parents’ house in Nishi-Tokyo City where my father’s body was placed, my mother and brother had already been there. I saw my father’s body lying down. I didn’t get along with my father, but I respected him as I saw him working passionately as a company manager. Though he was a Buddhist and differed from me in faith and values, I wished we could understand each other. I was extremely sad to say farewell my father in this way. While I was next to my father’s body, I was completely surrounded by my relatives and former UC members who came all the way from Niigata in the van. Those UC members hardly knew my father though.
After the farewell, I was surrounded by family and former UC members and taken to the van again. My brother said to me, “We are not going back to Niigata anymore.” I was taken to an apartment called Ogikubo Place in Suginami-Ku in Tokyo and confined in room 605. (Police told me the details of the apartment after their investigation.) (Chart 3)
My brother went to work during the day, but my mother, sister and brother’s wife were always monitoring me. I couldn’t see the front door directly because there was a curtain before the front door. It was still my pretension period, so I couldn’t take any careless action such as checking the front door by opening the curtain.
Nevertheless I had a chance to look at the front door one time. I clearly saw a lock with numbers around the doorknob. As I was looking for a chance to escape from the apartment, I shouted in my mind, “I'm not free yet!” and I was prostrated with anger and despair.
The room was also on the sixth floor and was too high to escape from the window. My wallet, driver’s license and cash, which I had left in Niigata, were not returned to me.
As the confinement continued, my brother became impatient. One day when I just walked toward the front door, my brother yelled at me, “Go away. Unpleasant.” I felt unspeakable fear in my brother’s words and actions.
(3) Transferred to Second Apartment in Tokyo (December 1997)
Around the end of December 1997, my mother, brother, brother’s wife and some men took me to another apartment called Ogikubo Flower Home in a van, again under scrutiny. I was confined in apartment 804 (Chart 4). I was taken to a room facing a verandah in the far back of the apartment, and I was told to stay there (M in Chart 4). Soon after the arrival in the new apartment, I walked to a position where I could see the front door in order to check if it was possible to go out the front door. I clearly saw that a chain and lock had been installed on the front door, so the front door could not be opened without a key (Pic 2). My brother shooed me away to the room in the back.
I felt humiliation that I was not being treated as a human and protested, “You are treating me like a dog. I’m a human.” All the windows were installed with special locks, and keys were needed to unlock them. The windows could not be opened from inside (Pic 3). My mother, brother, sister and brother’s wife always monitored me, and they told me to leave the sliding door of my room open.
Although two Years and three months had already passed since the confinement in Niigata and two years had passed since I said I would renounce my belief, there was no sign of release from confinement. The situation of my pretension to leave the church was in deadlock, and my mental situation was almost reaching a breaking point.
“Why do I have to continue this kind of thing in Japan, which guarantees basic human rights and religious freedom under the constitution? Though they are doing some unlawful acts, such as forcefully abducting and confining to de-convert people, they don't show any prick of conscience and criticize the Unification Church. I have to spend day after day pretending to be a former UC member, and they are forcing me to sing their tune.” I had a fearful feeling of what would happen to my spirit if this situation continued.
In addition to that, I couldn’t do anything but feel growing frustration and emptiness, thinking in my mind, “I could have started married life with my fiancée if I was not abducted and confined.” So, soon after I was transferred to Flower Home 804, I was determined to reveal that I had pretended to renounce my belief. I called my brother, made him sit, and I told him that I had pretended. I condemned him by banging on the desk, “You are wrong to do this kind of thing.” I vented my gloomy feelings, which had accumulated within me for a long time.
As a result of my announcement that I had pretended to leave the church, it became a routine that I received all kinds of criticism, defamation and abusive words from my family members and Takashi Miyamura and others who visited the apartment later on. I began to receive their uncompromising deprogramming work to force me to abandon my faith. Soon after the announcement of revealing my pretension, I proceeded toward the front door to try to escape. I was grabbed by my brother, pushed down and caught. I was shocked to know that my physical strength had gotten much weaker than I thought.
The feeling of despair attacked me, as I had to give up on my escape plan from the confinement apartment, not only because the door was locked by chain and a special tool, but also my escape was refused by force.
(4) Miyamura’s ‘Deprogramming Work’
While I was confined in the apartment, they didn’t even tell me where the apartment was. The transfer to another apartment was carried out at night, so it was difficult to identity where it was. One time, I asked my brother where it was. He refused to answer by saying, “You don’t need to know it.” I now know the names and addresses of the three apartments in which I was confined because policemen and prosecutors informed me of such details after I lodged a criminal complaint against my captors. I learned that the location of the Ogikubo Flower Home was at Ogikubo 3-Chome as I heard a voice over the loudspeaker during the general election for the House of Representatives in 2003. I heard the voice say, “Hello, people in Ogikubo 3-Chome. This is Nobuaki Ishihara.”
When I was taken to Ogikubo Flower Home, I had no idea where it was. As mentioned before, my brother was employed by Miyamura’s Tap Co Ltd* after he left the UC. Also he was assisting Miyamura with his deprogramming work as a former UC member. I vaguely believed that it was in the Ogikubo area and expected Miyamura would show up soon. I recalled the suffering when I was confined at the Keio Plaza Hotel in 1987. Miyamura even appeared in my dreams and made me suffer.
(*Tap Co Ltd = the company Miyamura owned.)
From early January 1998 to September 1998, Miyamura accompanied former UC members and visited room 804 to force me to abandon my faith. Miyamura stayed from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and he visited the room almost daily at the beginning. Several people accompanied him, including both males and females. At least one man who was employed by Miyamura’s company was hiding in the garden. He had assisted the captors with my abduction and confinement when I was taken to Niigata on September 11, 1995.
A total of 7 to 12 people, consisting of Miyamara, members of my family and former UC members gathered in the back room, and they flung words of criticism, defamation and abuse at me. When Miyamura visited me in the room for the first time, he said, “Toru, it’s been a long time since then.” I said, “You come here unexpectedly all of a sudden.” Miyamura replied, “If I don’t come in a hurry, you run away.” Miymura’s comment was as if he announced that he had confined me.
When a certain female visited room 804, she sat cross-legged in an impolite manner and was smoking. She criticized me harshly for my last escape by saying, “You are a coward. You ran away last time, didn’t you?” I got angry about the inhumane treatment, confinement and unbearable criminal act. I fiercely protested to Miyamura, who showed no sign of conscience, by saying to him, “Get me out of here. You say the Unification Church violates human rights, but the UC never abducts and detains people. You are violating human rights. What do you think of freedom of religion?”
Miyamura said, “Don’t bluster. You are not qualified to claim your own human rights. I’m not confining you. Your family members are protecting you. If you want to get out, tell your family. You are not listening to people at all. Use your brains. Think well with your head.” He taunted me by saying, “Unless you become to think with your head, you can’t get out.” Also he forced me to leave the church by threatening me, saying, “If my children don’t leave the Unification Church, I will make a private prison and hold them until their faith is broken.” Miyamura and his female associate continued to insult me by using words such as idiot or stupid frequently.
Miyamura threatened me by saying, “If Sun Myung Moon is a Messiah and the Divine Principle is true, I will commit seppuku*. If Sun Myung Moon is a fake and the Divine Principle is not true, are you ready to do hara-kiri*?” Explain how the Divine Principle is true.” He criticized the Divine Principle, which explains the church doctrine, and the book God’s Will and the World, which consists of Rev. Moon’s speeches, then he taunted me by saying, “It’s proof that you are still mind-controlled, as you still believe in such things.”
(*?seppuku or hara-kiri = suicide by disembowelment)
Also Miyamura said that the founder of the church had promiscuous sex, called “Chiwake,” in the early stages of the church. He repeated hearsay information without proof: “Why does Sun Myung Moon like women so much? It is uncountable how many women he has slept with.” He forced me to listen to him, which I didn’t want to, and it caused me tremendous psychological suffering.
I said, “Then I can go back to the church to investigate. Let me get out of here.” Miyamura refused flatly, “No, you can’t. The Unification Church tells lies. Even if you go back, you never find out the truth.” I complained that this apartment was a lawless area that was not covered by any law. I was in an unjust environment in which my freedom was deprived by confinement. My faith was fiercely criticized and it made me worn out. But I couldn’t get information freely that I wanted to get.
Miyamura picked up the incident of my father and accused me repeatedly by saying, “You killed your father. Your father was killed by you. What would you do?” I was furious and replied to the unreasonable accusation by shouting, “You have to take me to the police if you think I killed him. Take me now.”
The former UC members accompanying Miyamura got around him and yelled at me. A female former UC member suddenly picked up a teacup and poured the green tea on me. My T-shirt got all wet.
Also my family members joined Miyamura’s forcible conversion work. My brother stood up suddenly during the session and screamed at me, “What is your attitude? I want to beat you within an inch of your life.” My younger sister threatened me, “You’ve got to be prepared to be like this for the rest of your life if you don’t change.”
After Miyamura left, my family members continued to condemn me until around 9:00 pm. My brother at one time slapped my face saying, “Why can’t you understand? I must make you wake up.”
When I was doing stretching exercises to change my mood and avoid lack of movement, my brother’s wife angrily said to me, “How come you can do such things in this situation?” I wondered why she was so upset and it disturbed me.
In this way, extremely difficult days under confinement continued, with abusive words, yelling, violence and forcible conversion efforts by Miyamura and family members. I was exhausted mentally and physically at the end of the day. When I imagined that the same thing would continue the next day and the next, a feeling of despair attacked me as the sense of fear that I would become mentally deranged increased.
Miyamura and family members used to say to me, “You are not listening to me. Think with your head.” I heard these words more than 100 times during the confinement. I countercharged them after I listened to them. I said to them, “I’m listening to you and thinking in my head.” They didn’t accept my words replying, “No, you are not listening. You are not thinking.”
“Not listening” in their context means “You don’t intend to accept our criticism of the UC.” “Think with your head” means “Admit the wrongness of your faith in the UC.” “You won’t be released unless you accept our criticism of the UC and abandon your faith.” This was their unchangeable claim.
My brother also often said to me, “I’m not telling you to quit the church. As your family member, I can’t leave you involved with such a controversial church. Therefore I want you to be in a neutral position and think with your head. You have no time to think thoroughly if you are in the church. If you still say the Divine Principle is true, you have an obligation to explain to us, as the church has too many troubles.”
I opposed him by saying, “It doesn’t make sense to say I must be neutral to think while I’m forced to be in confinement. The Japanese constitution guarantees freedom of religion. This is abduction, confinement and forcible conversion.” My brother replied, “This is neither abduction nor confinement. This is an emergency protection shelter.” I said, “It’s not true. See what I do.” Then I tried to get out of the room. I was caught by him, and I got into a scuffle with my brother.
“Look. You don’t let me go out. What is this if not confinement? If you insist this is a protection, you are deceiving. Even done by family members, this is abduction and confinement. It is criminal. You will be a criminal if I file complaints. I don’t want you to become criminals. You have to get me out of here.” My brother shouted, “Then, what kind of other option do we have. Tell me.”
Soon after Miyamura and his supporters started to visit the apartment, influenza spread like wildfire. Some of the family members, including myself, suffered from influenza. I had a fever of nearly 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), but they did not take me to a doctor. I was given medication that was prescribed for my family members who had seen a doctor. While I suffered from influenza, Miyamura did not come in for fear of contracting the virus. My brother said, “We have a short break.” As soon as I recovered from the influenza, Miyamura started to visit the apartment, and the harsh and forcible conversion work resumed. While I was struggling with high fever, I felt frustrated with their not letting me see a doctor. I was frightened to imagine that “if I become more seriously ill, they will not take me a doctor and I may die.”
The deprogramming work after I was transferred to Ogikubo was done under the instruction of Miyamura. I will explain it as follows. A book titled What Parents Must Know was published by Inochi No Kotaba Sha (Word of Life Press Ministries) on April 1, 1997. In the following year (1998), I started to receive Miyamura’s deprogramming under confinement at Flower Home #804. Miyamura contributed an article in the book.
Here is what Miyamura says in the book.
You have to know that your children are not the same children of old days though it’s hard to admit it if you are parents. The mind control which a destructive cult uses is different from brain washing, and it’s an advanced and sophisticated method.
More importantly, it’s very dangerous for you to judge how much your children are affected by the mind control. I’ll mention this matter later, but you need to rely on counselors who have abundant experience. As a minimum standard, you better think that you can’t handle the case if you feel “something different” in your children.
If you receive counseling from a reliable counselor in the first place, the issue would not escalate. You may think lightly, for example “He would understand what we say.” “He’ll quit if I talk.” “She will awake soon.” “My children wouldn’t do such things.” But these attitudes may make the situation more serious. If you think “It’s still OK” in the common sense, it’s “too late”.
You take your children to a doctor when your children become sick or injured even though they are not so serious. Are you trying to solve the problems all by yourselves while something awful is occurring in your children’s mind?
Your first action to do is to look for your “rescue counselor” who you are going to ask to rescue your children. You need to see as many counselors as possible, gather information and continue to research. If you find a reliable counselor, you have to trust the person without worrying. Your case will be solved if you prepare and act patiently without any hassles, without giving up.
According to Miyamura, Unification Church members are “mind-controlled,” and it is “very dangerous” for family and relatives to judge the member’s situation and it becomes the stage which is “more than the family members can do.” In order to solve it (to make children leave the church), you have to find a “reliable counselor” and trust the counselor. That’s the only way.
A “reliable counselor” means Miyamura himself. My family asked Pastor Matsunaga in Niigata to convert me for the second abduction and confinement, though it is clear that Miyamura was involved, as my brother and one of Tap’s employees were part of the abduction team. Pastor Matsunaga failed to convert me over the two-year confinement. Then my family asked Miyamura himself to deprogram me after my father’s death.
Miyamura himself told the story of how he became my counselor in the article titled “The Unification Church on the Ropes Struggles in Vain” in the April 2010 edition of a magazine called Monthly Times.
In that article, Miyamura was asked how he became my persuader. Miyamura said, “Toru Goto and his family went to Niigata in 1995. I don’t know anything about it. His family members must have planned and carried it out. Two year later, Toru Goto’s father contacted me, and I met Toru Goto’s parents in Tokyo. At that time, Goto’s father was suffering from liver cancer and he had only three months to live. Toru Goto’s father said to me, “I can’t die like this. Could you please talk to Toru?” I said to him, “I will talk to Toru if he agrees. After that, Toru Goto and his family members moved to Tokyo” (p 17). Miyamura said, “I don’t know anything about the details of Toru Goto’s move to Niigata.” But that is an outrageous comment. At that time, my brother was an employee of Miyamura’s Tap Co Ltd. On the night of September 11, 1995, when I was abducted at my parents’ home in Nishi-Tokyo City, a man hiding in the garden to help my captors was Tap’s employee, which I learned later. Miyamura poured his efforts into his conversion work for many years, and he was involved with my brother and sister’s conversion. I was the last person to be converted. As my brother was working for Miyamura’s Tap (which has fewer than 10 employees), Miyamura must have known of the plan.
Miyamura took over the task of my conversion from Matsunaga* who did not know what to do with me. My family members who trusted Miyamura as a “reliable counselor” must have received Miyamura’s instructions.
(* Added by translator: Matsunaga, a Christian minister, is a deprogrammer who worked on Toru Goto in Niigata prior to Goto’s transfer to Tokyo.)
In February or March 1998, Matsunaga visited room 804 of Ogikubo Flower Home. Matsunaga came with Miyamura, and Matsunaga sat in front of me, and Miyamura sat behind Matsunaga but in a position that Miyamura could see me. A sense of tension and feeling of repulsion attacked me as Matsunaga showed up in front of me all of a sudden. It was as if I had an electric shock in my whole body. I recalled the time in Niigata, when Matsunaga conducted forcible conversion on me.
When I gingerly revealed to Matsunaga that my renouncement in Niigata was fake, Miyamura said, “Your confinement has been protracted because you did such a thing.” Matsunaga said to me, “I would like to split your head open to see how your structure inside is.” He used the expression as if there were something wrong in my head, and he ridiculed me.
I recalled that Matsunaga talked about Miyamura a lot while I was confined in Niigata. Matsunaga esteemed and trusted Miyamura. Matsunaga said, “There’s no one who knows Unification Church matters more than Mr. Miyamura. All the information gathers at Miyamura. ”
Miyamura and Matsunaga often cooperated when conducting de-conversion work on UC members. They cooperated when my brother’s wife received conversion from them. So it seems that Miyamura and Matsunaga contacted each other for my second abduction and confinement.
As I didn’t accept Miyamura’s conversion, the number of his visits to the apartment was gradually reduced. After September 1998, he hardly came, and only his followers visited the apartment. I counted how many times Miyamura visited the apartment by making a note on the Divine Principle book. He came to the apartment 73 times in total in the period until September 1998.
I was not allowed to get the information that I wanted to know in the confinement apartment. I asked for Koujien (a famous Japanese dictionary), but Miyamura flatly rejected it. My brother said to me, “Actually the Bible and the Divine Principle are enough for you.” Only information that was convenient for them was brought to me.
In May 1999, a TV set was brought in the room even though I didn’t ask for it. But I didn’t feel like watching TV, so I hardly turned it on.
In December 1999, I felt strong anxiety about the situation that I was left behind without knowing what was happening outside, as years had already passed. I demanded that my family bring Gendai Yougo No Kiso Chishiki (Basic Knowledge of Modern Language, a large dictionary published annually to explain current terminology and knowledge). Their rejection caused a fierce argument with my family members. I was so furious that I said, “I’m getting out of here. I’m going to jump.” I rushed to the window of the far back room, and the sliding door by the window was broken.
My family members seemed daunted by my action. In January 2000, they brought the Basic Knowledge of Modern Language. Around this time, they started providing Sankei Shimbun (a daily newspaper). Afterward, Sankei Shimbun was replaced by Tokyo Shimbun. Then around June 2006, they stopped providing Tokyo Shimbun.
I was isolated in the confinement room and was left behind by the outside world. The more I learned what was happening outside via Gendai Yougo no Kiso Chishiki and Sankei Shimbun, the more I came to feel extreme anxiety. In February 2001, feelings of uncontrollable anxiety that “I may have to remain isolated for the rest of my life and I may not be able to get out” haunted me. I headed to the front door and tried to escape. Each time I was overpowered by my family members, I shouted “Get me out. Help. Call police.” I did it over and over again in a loud voice, which could be heard by neighbors. I risked my life in attempts to escape.
I condemned my family by saying, “You say the Unification Church is violating human rights, but what you are doing are human rights violations. The Unification Church never confines people like this. This is torture. This is a witch hunt in modern days. How many times did you rob me of my right to vote? Do you think this kind of thing will be tolerated? I shall reveal your acts of barbarism. I’ll take the matter to court. You’ll be branded criminals.”
But I was held in a full nelson and pushed down by my brother, sister and mother. They wrapped me in a blanket and held their hands against my mouth, so neighbors could not overhear my screams for help. I couldn’t breathe and I almost choked. As I had had no opportunity to exercise during the long confinement, I lost my muscles. Even if I scuffled with my brother, he easily overpowered me. Also my sister and mother had enormous power in such frantic situations, as if they were possessed by something. I couldn’t resist at all when these three people overpowered me.
I was covered in blood by bleeding from my face, hands, legs and feet. I had a mass of bruises and my clothes were torn apart. The blood from my legs and feet dropped on the tatami floor, and I wiped it up with towels and even by my hands. I had pain in my whole body at night, and I couldn’t sleep. When I took a bath, I showed my body, full of bruises, to my brother, and intensely complained by saying “Look! You are cruel.” My brother didn’t care about my claim by replying, “Me, too.” A finger on my right hand was bent and hurt during the scuffle. I had acute pain. It looked like the bone was fractured. The pain lasted for two to three months. The finger remains bent even now.
Furniture was also damaged during the scuffle. I clung onto a metal pole in the kitchen shelves or an accordion curtain between the rooms when trying not to be dragged by them. As they pulled me forcefully, the metal pole was distorted and the accordion curtain was torn and damaged.
Furniture was also damaged during the scuffle. I clung onto a metal pole in the kitchen shelves or an accordion curtain between the rooms when trying not to be dragged by them. As they pulled me forcefully, the metal pole was distorted and the accordion curtain was torn and damaged.
Around that time, my brother stayed in the room all the time and continued to monitor me. When an opportunity arose, I moved to room B and tried to turn the knob of the door (door D) to attempt to escape. The door could not be opened even if I turned the knob, or pushed or pulled.
At the time, my brother was in position C and said, “People steal like bandits.” It is clear that he meant, “It was good to lock door D to prevent you from escaping.” My family prevented me from reaching the front door by locking door D in order to stop my escape. This was done as a countermeasure of my actions.
I repeated fierce resistance for a month. Miyamura visited the apartment once during my resistance. He came in the first day I started my resistance. When I approached the front door, my brother immediately caught me and signaled my sister with a wink and saying “Hey.” She called Miyamura over a mobile phone. Miyamura rushed to the apartment, and he saw me being pushed down on the floor by my brother. Miyamura came in front of my head, and yelled, “What the hell are you doing? Don’t mess around.” He remained in the apartment for a while to observe the situation, and then he left.
Miyamura came to the apartment immediately after my brother and sister contacted him on the mobile phone. It is understood that there was an arrangement between my family and Miyamura. It is evident that Miyamura was behind my family for my forcible conversion and confinement, and that Miyamura received information from my family and my family acted based on Miyamura’s instructions.
One day, I stood up on the edge of the bathtub, opened the ventilation hole and shouted, “Can someone hear me? I’m confined here. Please call police.” That was when Miyamura came over to the apartment for the second time in my resistance. It looked like my family had informed Miyamura. Miyamura came in the bathroom, grabbed my collar from behind and hauled me out of the bathroom, then dragged me to the room in the far back. At that time, as I had grabbed some electric appliances in an attempt not to be dragged, they all fell. When I was taken to the room by force, I fiercely banged on the desk with my both fists in rage and yelled, “Stop fooling around. That’s enough. Get me out of here.” Miyamura murmured, “This guy is useless.” Then he left the apartment.
I started to suffer from an unspeakable sinking feeling and despair, as all my attempts to escape had failed and the security of my confinement room became tighter. I sometimes vaguely kept on looking at the light thrown from blurred windows with metal wire embedded within, which prevented me from seeing outside. It was too cruel and unbearable to accept reality. I was trembling in fear that I would lose myself and go mad in this situation. At last, even my drive to resist was lost, and I was forced to be in a mental status that I had to give up the use of force in the escape plan.
On the other hand, around this time, videotapes, a headphone, a portable light stand, etc. were brought in the room even if I didn’t demand them. My brother brought many books. In order to escape from the unacceptable situation, I omnivorously read the books. I started to watch TV as they brought a headphone. I could temporarily forget the miserable reality, but my gloomy feelings never cleared up.
Since then, until my first hunger strike in April 2004, my family hardly conducted conversion work on me. Miyamura stopped visiting the room. I suspect that they feared that I would take the case to court. I learned after my release that Christian pastor Mamoru Takazawa, who had a close relationship with Miyamura, lost a lawsuit in April 2000, which was one year before Miyamura stopped visiting the apartment. In that lawsuit, a Unification Church member who had been a victim of confinement and forcible conversion filed a lawsuit against the Christian pastor.
Even though Miyamura stopped coming to the room, he continued to confine me. If Miyamura released me, he feared that I would file a complaint. My family and Miyamura continued to confine me to keep my mouth shut so their criminal acts would not be revealed. I condemned them by saying, “I’ll take the matter to court. You’ll be criminals.” My accusation must have pressured them.
Around this time I had an idea to throw a letter, and I tore one page from a notebook and wrote a message on it, “My name is Toru Goto. I’m confined on an upper floor of this apartment building. Anyone who sees this, please contact the Unification Church. I’ll pay you a reward.” I tried to carry out the plan. But the reinforced glass with metal wires inside was not easily broken. Even if I could throw a letter from the window, if it went wrong, I didn’t know what kind of revenge I would receive from my captors.
Therefore I could not help but hesitate to carry out the plan. I was overpowered every time I approached the front door. I had received lots of violence and I had gotten injured. Such incidents were recalled, and the determination to carry out the plan wilted. After wavering, I tore the paper up and flushed it down the toilet. I was prostrated with despair and I used to think, “I shall be determined to live here for the rest of my life.”
On September 12, 2001, a man who was a conversion professional visited the apartment to conduct conversion work on me. He said he saw me at my confinement in 1987. This man said he would come back the next day, but he never showed up.
In April 2004, I was attacked by feelings of uncontrollable anxiety and fear that I might have to spend the rest of my life in confinement. As my fierce resistance to attempt to escape had failed in February 2001, this time I was determined to carry out a 21-day hunger strike to protest the protracted confinement.
I protested to my family, saying, “Eight years have already passed. Babies born at that time are eight years old now. This is a human rights violation. The 30s are the most productive age in life. I was robbed of the most important 30s in this confinement apartment, isolated from society. You are responsible for that. How many times do you think you robbed me of the right to vote? If you don’t recognize this as human rights violations, your way of thinking is completely wrong. Why can’t you understand this? You don’t understand common sense. This is torture.” My family condemned me and demanded that I leave the church by replying, “You are not listening to people. Think well with your head.”
My brother’s wife got hysterical while she was accusing me. She sat on the tatami floor just in front of me, and she slapped my face with all her might. She got agitated and continued to accuse me, and she slapped my face again in the same way. She slapped me four or five times like this. As she used to swim and she was masculine, my upper body heavily swung every time I was hit. I always had pains on my face. One day she had a plaster on the root of her thumb of the right hand. It seemed that she had hurt her hand. This kind of violence started in April 2004, when I started the hunger strike, and was repeated until September 2004.
My brother’s wife bullied me cruelly. At one time, she screamed agitatedly and said to me, “You’ve got to wake up.” She pulled my collar and poured ice water down my back. When I was eating a meal after the hunger strike, she put a light stand just in front of me and placed a piece of paper on it to tease me. She taunted me by saying, “Eat while you see this.” On the piece of paper, my sitting meditation style was drawn, and underneath the drawing there was a caption, “A man who is pursuing truth. My name is Toru.” Such violence and abuses under conditions of inescapable confinement were extremely unbearable. Even when I felt her presence, I felt scared, my heartbeat became faster and my body became rigid. Also she shouted abusive language by saying, “A corrupt man has no human rights.” Thus she justified the abuses.
I often spent time by lying down toward the end of the 21-day hunger strike as I became weak and felt faint. Even a small body movement became difficult. I couldn’t use the toilet in a standing position as I almost collapsed in the toilet.
After the 21-day hunger strike, I started to eat with thin rice gruel. It took a month to go back to normal meals. I felt dizzy and faint during that time. I was like a starving man during a famine at the worst time. It took one year for my body to regain its normal weight.
(6) Second Hunger Strike – 21 days (May 2005)
In April 2005, I demanded some materials to study the Korean language. When my brother’s wife and my sister rejected it, a heated argument started. I protested by making a loud noise with kitchen metal bowls. I held the bowls in my hands and beat them against each other. But my family members never accepted my request. The incident triggered me to carry out a second 21-day hunger strike.
After that 21-day hunger strike, they only served me meager meals. They abused me by depriving me of food. I asked my brother’s sister, “Why does it take so long to resume normal meals? After the first hunger strike, normal meals were served after one month. Are you starving me to death? Is it a kind of sanction? When will you resume serving normal meals?” She said, “I don’t know.” She acted as if she didn’t know. The food sanction lasted for seven months. I suffered from dizziness for a long time, and I couldn’t move my muscles as I wanted.
I got athlete’s foot on my right foot during the confinement at the Ogikubo Flower Home. Medication was initially supplied for it when I demanded. After 2006, even if I demanded, they stopped supplying the medication. The big toenail was deformed, and it took one year to be cured after my release. Also everyone, including myself, got eyestrain, and we all had eye drops. They stopped supplying eye drops around the same time as the athlete’s foot medication was stopped. I had eyestrain very easily.
At the end of 2005 or at the beginning of 2006, the light of the desk lamp blew. I requested that the light bulb be replaced, but they didn’t do it.
(7) Third Hunger Strike – 30 days (April 2006)
In April 2006, I demanded a notebook. My brother’s wife and my sister rejected it, and we started a fierce argument again. I thought I would not be released until I did a longer hunger strike than before. I was determined to carry out an indefinite hunger strike.
Around two weeks after starting the hunger strike, it became difficult even to stand up. Even to read a book or to think became difficult. I spent most of the time lying down lifelessly, even during the day. At around the time of passing 21 days of a hunger strike, which I experienced twice in the past, I became debilitated more and more. I sensed that my life would be in danger if I continued the hunger strike. I told my family that I would end my fast on the 30th day. However, my family became furious against my resisting attitude. They didn’t serve rice gruel for one day, even after I declared an end to the hunger strike.
As I was in a starvation state, I protested by saying, “Are you starving me to death?” My family still didn’t feed me, saying, “What are you saying? You started the fasting and how can you demand food now? Are you stupid? Continue until you die.” I thought, “I might be killed,” and I was filled with tremendous fear.
As there was no other option, I had to prostrate myself and beg my family for food. On the following day, my family started to serve me thin rice gruel three times a day in a small bowl (7 cm in diameter and 5 cm in depth) and thinned sports drink (500cc) called Pocari Sweat twice a day. When my sister was in a bad mood, she delayed serving the drink for 20 or 30 minutes. Even if it was a delay for a short time, it was very hard for me. I became under the thumb of my family.
In the morning when thin rice gruel was served, I was sitting in the position where I couldn’t see the other people’s meals. My brother’s wife banged on the table and said to me, “Sit here.” I was forced to move to a place where I could see everyone’s meals. As I feared that they would stop serving rice gruel and I would receive more abuse, I had to take the order in spite of her autocratic demand. Thus my brother’s wife made me see their meals while I was in the starvation state, causing me psychological suffering. I will never forget this humiliation.
Such liquid diet lasted for 70 days, and solid food was not served during that time. To take only liquid food was equal to not eating anything. As a result, I was forced to continue fasting for another 70 days after my 30-day hunger strike. I became nothing but skin and bone, and I was on the verge of dying of starvation. I was confronted with the fear of death, and my physical state was its worst at that time.
While I shared a dinner table with my family for these 70 days, only one small bowl with thin rice gruel in it was served just in front of me at every meal. If I picked it up and drank it, it was finished within a few seconds. If I took sips little by little while I was watching my family eating their meals, it still didn’t take more than three minutes to finish.
I developed a sense of danger that I might die if this continued. I quietly opened the refrigerator door without their noticing and licked mayonnaise or seasonings. But when I opened the door one day, all the seasonings had been hidden.
Triggered by the fear of death from starvation, I stealthily picked up skins of carrots or apples from food scraps and ate them in hiding. When I bit the tiny bit of the apple attached to the skin, the sweetness of the apple spread in my mouth, and tears started to flow with joy. But after a short while, even food scraps were hidden.
I sometimes became delirious, and I started to hear beautiful music out of nowhere. It didn’t take long to find out that it was auditory hallucinations. I thought, “Someone may be here to welcome me from the spirit world, and this is a really critical moment.” This time I targeted the prepared rice that sat in a bowl with water before being cooked. I stole some raw rice from the bowl and ate it in hiding.
My family prepared the rice in the bowl with the correct amount of water; therefore, the amount of water became relatively more than the rice. The cooked rice became more watery, and it continued every day. My family said in a searching voice, “The rice is watery recently.” I tried to stay calm, but I was desperately praying to God in my mind, “God. Please help. Please don’t let it be discovered.” I was extremely concerned that further sanctions might be imposed if this were discovered.
The watery rice continued every day. My family said, “This rice cooker is broken” and bought a new one. They miraculously didn’t discover what I did. Somehow I survived the starvation crisis. It was really beyond my imagination that my family members did such things to me.
I read a newspaper column during the confinement about the young men (in their 20s) of the Irish Republican Army who died of starvation from 40-day or 70-day hunger strikes in the 1980s. I didn’t have enough food, except for liquids, after my 30-day hunger strike. I took rice to survive. I worried that I would face major challenges for my survival if the situation continued. I begged my family to resume giving me normal meals at the beginning of July 2006.
It seemed that my brother feared that he would be charged with murder if I died in this situation. He said to other members of the family, “Isn’t it the time to resume normal meals?” My brother’s wife unhappily replied in dismay, “Unbelievable!” When I heard the conversation among the family members, I found out that my brother’s wife intended to continue the nefarious food sanction until I abandoned my faith. I felt that my brother’s wife had an hysterical hatred toward me because I kept on refusing to abandon the faith. She disregarded my life. I got chills down my spine to know her cold-heartedness.
However, at first they served only thicker rice gruel. Then they made it thicker and thicker. It took four months to resume giving me normal meals. After the four months, they served a piece of bread and a drink for breakfast. A meager meal was served for lunch, such as a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, four pieces of dried seaweed, pickles, small fish, etc. For dinner, a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, pickles, small shrimps and natto (soy bean product) without many side dishes were served. These kinds of meals lasted until the end of my confinement, and I suffered terrible hardships physically and mentally. While my family was eating normal meals, I was seated at the same table eating meager meals from a small plate (10 cm in diameter). I desperately felt like eating things from their plates.
My brother’s wife said, “What an awesome meal you have!” pointing at my plate. After the meal, the family members ate eating dessert, fruits or snacks in the room near the front door. I was still hungry after the meal, and I became very sensitive to smell. It was an unbearable experience, and I collected apple skins from food scraps and ate them.
I couldn’t go to sleep at night because of hunger. Menus such as curry, pork cutlet on rice, gyoza, ramen, etc., which I wanted to eat but couldn’t, came to my mind at bedtime.
Around September 2006, when Mr. Abe formed a government in Japan, my sister attempted to take some videotapes when she was cleaning the room. When I tried to get them back, I got into a scuffle with my sister. My sister damaged the videotape. My brother’s wife joined the scuffle, and she took a TV antenna from the room. As my sister alone physically overpowered me, I didn’t even have the energy to take the antenna back from my sister-in-law. I couldn’t even watch TV from that day, and it caused further mental suffering. My sister started to treat me badly as the confinement in the room was protracted. My brother’s wife and my sister did not like me watching TV.
One day, my brother’s sister took books away from my room. I went to the room next to the front door to get the books back. My sister-in-law said in a strong tone, “Don’t come.” And I was banned from entering the room beyond the accordion curtain. I feared further food sanctions; I couldn’t help but comply with the order.
I remember that after the third hunger strike my family mentioned to me a few times that I could leave. Even when I heard such words, I couldn’t believe they were saying them seriously because of the violence that my family did to me or my experiences of abuses such as food sanctions. Rather, I could not help but understand that it was their intention to use their comments as excuses to avoid accusation of confinement in case of criminal charges filed by me in the future.
Some mechanics (to repair the air-conditioner, etc.) visited the room a few times. I couldn’t ask them for help for the following reasons:
First, my brother was always monitoring me. While my brother was staring at me, it was impossible to ask for help.
Second, a man had come to the room to fix the air-conditioner in the summer of 2000, and I learned the man was an acquaintance of Miyamura from the conversation between the man and my brother. I couldn’t ask such a person for help. As there was the possibility of other agents’ connection to Miyamura or my family, I couldn’t ask for help.
Third, I had received mental and physical abuse in the closed confinement room from Miyamura, former UC members and family members since being transferred to Flower Home #804. Such abuses were already mentioned in my statement. For example, the abuses include the defamation targeted at me, psychological suffering caused by their criticism, physical suffering by overpowering me during escape attempts, severe food sanctions after the hunger strikes. The fear of abuses increased because of my past treatment. Because of my fear of failure if I asked such mechanics/agents for help, I couldn’t ask them for help.
(8) Release from My Prison
Around November 2007, my brother’s wife criticized me by saying, “How much do you think it costs to maintain this apartment? Do you know how badly you damaged the properties of this apartment? These must be repaired when we move out.” The damaged properties she mentioned were the kitchen shelves and accordion curtains, which were broken in my repeated escape attempts in February 2001. It looked like the financial burden on my family of maintaining the apartment was becoming harder and harder. Also they had a sense of crisis that they would have more troubles if I would carried out another hunger strike and starved to death. From around that time, it seemed that members among my family started to have different opinions on what to do about the confinement.
Around January 2008, I demanded a mirror to cut my hair and entered the room near the front where my younger sister was. My sister said to me in a strong tone, “Don’t come in” and shoved me away by pushing my chest with both her hands. I unsteadily stepped back, and my back hit the cupboard. My physical strength was at that low level at that time. However, at least two people were in the apartment to monitor me, even if they were busy. For example, on April 3 or 4 in 2006, my grandmother died and my mother and sister attended the funeral in Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata. At that time, my brother took a day off from work and came to the apartment to join his wife to monitor me. It seemed that my brother filled the gap for that day as otherwise only my brother’s wife would have remained at the apartment.
At around 4:00 pm on February10, 2008, my brother and his wife, my mother and my sister ordered me to move out from the apartment, saying, “If you have no intention to verify the issues of the Unification Church, get out of here immediately.” I was debilitated mentally and physically at that time. I had continued to receive food sanctions and had had no adequate exercise for one year and 10 months, since the end of the third hunger strike. I felt a sense of despair and emptiness as the confinement was protracted, and also I had a sense of loss as I had lost everything. I had been isolated from society for 12 years. I had nowhere to go and I would be homeless even if I were released. I asked my family for some money so I could catch a train. My brother declined. They had deprived me of precious time and all the opportunities of life by confining me for many years. When things did not go well, they kicked me out without any money. I was furious about their outrageous act. I fiercely protested by saying, “It’s cruel to kick me out without giving me any money after a 12-year confinement.” We got into a scuffle, and my family forcefully tried to remove me from the apartment. I resisted in vain by holding on to kitchen shelves, the accordion curtain and any other places I could, but I was lifted up and they pushed me out the front door. I was wearing just house clothes, without shoes. I was pushed down (facing up) on the concrete floor of the hallway in front of the front door.
When I couldn’t get up and remained lying on the concrete floor, I overheard my brother saying “Shoes, Shoes.” Someone from inside threw my shoes at me. Then the front door was shut and locked. The back of my hand and wrist bled, and my sweater was torn. I banged on the front door and I protested against the outrageous treatment in a loud voice. When I repeated the protest, my brother shouted, “Shut up!” from inside the front door.
I had no choice but to get on an elevator and go to the ground level. At the ground level, I saw letter boxes. A tag was placed on the #804 letter box that read “GOTO.” I learned that the address of the apartment was Ogikubo 3-47-15, Suginami-ku.
Even though I became free, I was physically debilitated. I had no personal belongings, no clothes to change into, no guarantee of a job and life. I didn’t know where my friends were. I was attacked by a feeling of anxiety of how I would survive the situation. As I didn’t know where the Unification Church was in the Ogikubo area, I started to walk to the Unification Church Head Office in Shibuya.
I found a police box soon after I started to walk east on Oume Street. I entered the police box, and I complained that I had been confined in the apartment called Ogikubo Flower Home and had just been released.
The police officer seemed to be shocked to hear my words at the beginning. But once I started to talk about the details of the confinement, which was that my family members abducted and confined me for forcible conversion from the Unification Church faith, the police officer’s attitude suddenly changed and he started to look at me suspiciously. Even if I explained, he didn’t treat the matter seriously, saying, “Weren’t your parents together with you? Didn’t they feed you?” I couldn’t help but think that it was ridiculous and complete nonsense.
At the very least, I wanted to borrow some money. I said, “May I borrow some money as I have nothing.” The officer said, “Don’t you have any acquaintances in Tokyo?” I could only say, “I was just released from a 12-year confinement, and I have no one to rely on….” The request was rejected, citing me as an unidentified person. I asked him to draw me a map of how to get to Shibuya, and I started to walk again.
I had been doing some exercises in the confinement room for 15 minutes daily, even if I was suffering from an empty stomach. It seemed that the exercise had worked and I could walk for a while. I passed by a ramen (noodle) shop and a donut shop. I couldn’t resist the smells, and I was dying to go in and eat as much as I could. There was no other option for a penniless man but continuing to walk. I turned right on Yamate Street, and I saw Shinjuku’s skyscrapers. I got a real sense of being liberated, feeling “Oh! I’m finally free.”
However, as I hadn’t walked much for a long time, my knees suddenly started to get sore when I entered Shibuya Ward. At Hatsudai, my knees became very weak, and I had to bend forward. I had to support my knees with both hands to walk. Soon I found a stick and used it. I continued at a very slow pace.
I felt pressed by the feeling that “I have to get there before the Head Office closes.” It took about four hours to get to the intersection of Shoto 2-Chome in Shibuya. But I couldn’t walk any more at the intersection due to acute pain in my knees. Also it was already night, and I didn’t know which way I should go. At that time, I was wearing a sweater which was torn by the scuffle, old-looking jersey knit pants, and leather shoes. My hair did not look good as I had cut it myself. I was using a stick, and I must have looked homeless. It was the coldest time of the year. The feeling that I could freeze to death came to me. I prepared myself for martyrdom.
I was determined to go forward as much as I could even if I crawled. I started to ask passersby how to get to the Unification Church. The second person I approached was a UC member who was on her way home. Even if it was an accident, I was surprised by the mysterious encounter. I felt God’s guidance, and I shivered with sensation. When I explained my situation to the lady, she explained how to get to the Head Office. After she realized that I couldn’t walk any longer, she called a taxi and paid the fare for me.
I had not been treated as a human during the confinement. I was so touched by the warm heart that I had not felt for so many years that I couldn’t stop tears running down my face. Thus, finally I arrived at the Unification Church Head Office alive.
I explained the circumstances to the security man at the Head Office. He couldn’t believe my story of a 12-year-confinement and treated me as a suspicious person. But he contacted someone who was in charge of abduction/confinement issues. The man told the security person, “I have information that a man called Goto was held in confinement for many years. This information came from a member who escaped her confinement masterminded by Pastor Takazawa.” The security man started to believe me and let me enter the building.
They served me dinner and offered to let me stay there for the night. At bedtime, I went to the toilet. I only could crawl to the toilet, and I realized that my physical state was so severe that I couldn’t use the toilet. (I couldn’t stand up.) It was around midnight when I was taken to Isshin Hospital in Kita-Otsuka by taxi. I was diagnosed with malnutrition at the emergency department. I was immediately admitted to the hospital as I was unable to walk.
After several checks, I was diagnosed as having generalized muscular weakness, disuse muscle atrophy (when muscles are not used, they atrophy and become small and weak), anemia as well as malnutrition.
I was admitted to the hospital around 2:00 am on February 11, 2008. I was unable to walk as I had acute pain in my knees when I tried to stand up. I had to use a wheelchair until the end of the month. Then I started to use a walker. Around March 4, 2008, I started to use both a walker and crutches. Around March 10, I started to use a cane, but I was not recovered enough to go up or down stairs. My rehabilitation continued, and I was discharged from the hospital on March 31. However, I could not run or walk fast. If I walked for 30 minutes for shopping, I felt pain in my knees and ankles, and I had muscle aches in my thigh and calf on the following day.
I could sit cross-legged on a floor. I could not sit (in the Japanese way) with my legs tucked under me, as I had pains in my ankles. Even now, three years after my release, I feel a sense of discomfort if I sit in the Japanese way. Also, after leaving the hospital, I couldn’t get up from the cross-legged position unless my body was supported by my arms touching the floor. I strongly feel that the 12-year confinement and the damage to my knees by walking on February 10 have affected my physical state even after leaving the hospital.
A few days after I was admitted to the hospital, I suffered from gastroenteritis and had persistent diarrhea. It seemed that the resistance of my internal organs was down due to the protracted confinement. I hardly saw an outside view during the 12 years and 5 months’ confinement. After the light bulb of the table lamp blew at the beginning of 2006, I had to read without the lamp as my captors did not replace the bulb. Also they stopped providing eye drops. My eyesight was 1.5 before the confinement, but it had dropped to 0.2 at the time of my release from confinement. Before the confinement, I could drive without corrective lenses. I can’t drive without glasses now. Of course, my driver’s license had expired, so I had to start all over again from scratch to get a license.
Two days later after my hospitalization, a journalist, Mr. Kazuhiro Yonemoto, visited me in the hospital. I recounted the story of the confinement to him, and I accepted his request to take some photos of me for the interview. The next day, Mr. Yonemoto visited the Ogikugo Sunflower Home (the confinement apartment), and also visited Miyamura’s home for an interview. Miyamura came out and Mr. Yonemoto could talk to him for a short while. According to Mr. Yonemoto, Miyamura admitted that he visited the confinement apartment to convert me. Also Miymura said to Mr. Yonemoto, “It was because Goto did fasting” in relation to the malnutrition due to abuses from family members (see Kazuhiro Yonemoto’s statement, dated March 5, 2008). It was April 2004 when I started my hunger strike. Miyamura’s last visit to me in the apartment was in February 2001. It is very clear that Miyamura had constant contact with my family and continued to conspire to confine me.
I had no choice but to carry out hunger strikes in order to pursue being released from confinement. If I did not go on hunger strikes three times, risking my life (21 days in 2004, 21 days in 2005 and 30 days in 2006), I would not have been released. If they had resumed normal meals after the hunger strike in April 2006, my weight would have been back to normal when I was released on February 10, 2008, which was one year and 11 months after the hunger strike.
I would like to add that I attended the Unification Church’s wedding ceremony in September 2008 after the release and got married. As my wife did not have brothers and the family had no heir, I decided to change to my wife’s surname, which is Iwamoto. I now feel some happiness, to get married and settle down in my 40s after such a long time.
Japan guarantees religious freedom. Such acts as confining me for 12 years and 5 months to make me leave the church, hurling criticism collectively at me, making me suffer physically and mentally and forcing me to abandon my faith are nothing but tortures and must not be tolerated. What kind of crime did I commit to deserve 12 years and 5 months in confinement? My elder brother and his wife chose by their free will to become Unification Church members and had faith in the Unification Church. After they left the church, they lied by claiming that they were forced to join the church against their will and forced to get involved with the church activities. Then they filed a lawsuit called the “Lost Youth Compensation Case” against the Unification Church and won compensation from the church.
In comparison to that, I was confined in a small room from the age of 31 until I was 44. They deprived me of not only my freedom of religion, freedom of marriage, freedom of choice in employment, freedom of movement and freedom of the vote, but they denied and violated my human dignity. They spoiled my precious life. I continued to receive criticism, smears and defamations that denied my humanity, and also violence to maintain the confinement. I received the torture of food sanctions, and I was continuously forced to decide whether to withdraw from the church.
I could not only not receive any medical checkups, but I was not even allowed to go to a doctor with a high fever. I was not released even when I almost starved to death. I have never heard of such crimes. But my family members and Miyamura are unrepentant and poised to evade responsibility by saying, for example, “I didn’t know that the front door of the apartment was locked by a padlock.”
The more I experienced cruel and brutal treatment from the captors, the more I was convinced that Miyamura and my family members were evil creatures. In spite of physical and mental abuses during the 12 years and 5 months of confinement, one of the reasons I didn’t lose my faith was that I was determined not to join such an evil group, even at the brink of death. And also I was filled with a sense of responsibility that I had to reveal these evil human rights violations to the public.
I would like to ask you to judge fairly and wish that you raise an alarm against the forcible deprogramming practices that are occurring even now, carried out by the deprogrammers, including Matsunaga and Miyamura. I wish not only for my personal relief but that these human rights violations in forcible conversion practices cease.