Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goto's statement to Tokyo District Court - Part 6

Mr. Toru Goto was finally released from the private prison in Feb. 2008 after 12 years and 5 months.  He had no one to rely on and no money on him, so he decided to walk to the Head Office of his church, which was 10 kilometers away.

Today's part is the final part of the Goto's statement submitted to the court. I will work on translation of the defendants' counterstatement.  You will know what the defendants say in the next post.

Original documents in Japanese are uploaded in the blog operated by the Association to Support Toru Goto's Court Case. The Association consists of 5 members from various background, mixture of current UC members(2) and non UC members(3). This article was translated by this blog's author from the Japanese texts in http://antihogosettoku.blog111.fc2.com/

Index of the Toru Goto's statement submitted to Tokyo District Court
  1.  Personal History
  2.  Joining Unification Church (1986)
  3.  First Confinement (Oct 1987 - Nov 1987)
  4.  After Escape from First Confinement
  5.  Second Confinement
    (1) Confinement in Niigata (Sep 1995)
    (2) Transferred to First Apartment in Tokyo (1997)
    (3) Transferred to Second Apartment in Tokyo (Dec 1997)
    (4) Miyamura's
    Deprogramming Work (5) First Hunger Strike – 21 Days (Apr 2004)
    (6) Second Hunger Strike – 21 days
    (May 2005)
    (7) Third Hunger Strike – 30 days
    (Apr 2006)
    (8) Release from Prison
  6. After Hospitalization
  7. At the End
    5.  Second Confinement
(8) Release from Prison

Around at Nov. 2007, my elder 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 when I repeated escape attempts and I was overpowered every time by the family members in Feb. 2001.  It looked like that financial burden to my family to maintain the apartment was becoming harder and harder.  Also they had a sense of crisis that they would have more troubles if I would carry out another hunger strike and starve to death.  Since around that time, it seemed that members among my family started to have different opinions what to do with the confinement.

Around in Jan. 2008, I demanded a mirror to cut my hair and entered to the room near the front door 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 by her both hands.  I unsteadily stepped back, and my back hit the cupboard.  My physical strength was that level at that time.  However, at least 2 people were in the apartment to monitor me even if they were busy.  For example, it was on 3rd or 4th of April in 2006.  My grandmother died and my mother and younger sister attended the funeral in Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata.  At that time, my brother had 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 only my brother’s wife remained in the apartment. 
At around 4pm on Feb.10, 2008, my elder brother and his wife, my mother and my younger sister ordered me to move out from the apartment by 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 sanction without adequate exercise for 1 year and 10 months since the end of the 3rd hunger strike.  I felt a sense of despair, emptiness as the confinement was protracted, and also I had a sense of loss as I lost everything.  I had been isolated from the society for 12 years.  I had nowhere to go and I would be homeless even if I was released.  I asked my family for some money by saying, “Give me some money.  Otherwise I can’t catch a train.”  My bother declined by saying, “No.”

They deprived me of precious time and all the opportunities by the confinement 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 12-year confinement.”  We got into a scuffle, and my family forcefully tried to remove me out of the apartment.  I resisted in vain by holding on to kitchen shelves, accordion curtain and any other places which I could, but I was lifted up and they pushed me out of the front door.  I was wearing just house dress without shoes.  I was pushed down (facing up) to the concrete floor of the hallway in front of the front door. 

When I couldn’t get up and remained lying down on the concrete floor, I overheard my brother’s voice, saying “Shoes, Shoes.”  Afterwards 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 of the front door.

I had no other way but to get on an elevator and go to the ground level.  At the ground level, I saw letter boxes.  A tag was placed to the room#804 letter box, and it was written “GOTO”.  Also 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, no guarantee of job and life.  I didn’t know where my friends were.  I was attacked by a feeling of anxiety how I would survive the situation.  As I didn’t know where the Unification Church was in 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 towards east on Oume Street.  I entered into the police box, and I complained that I had been confined in the apartment called Ogikubo Flower Home and I was just 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 by 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? I have nothing on me."  The officer said, “Don’t you have any acquaintance in Tokyo”.  I only could say, “I was just released from the 12-year confinement, and I have no one to rely on….”  The request was rejected citing as an unidentified person.  I asked him to draw a direction to get to Shibuya, and I started to walk again.

The Shinjuku Skyscrapers, which Toru Goto
saw on the way to the Head Office.
I was doing some exercises in the confinement room for 15 minutes daily even if I was suffering empty stomach during food sanction.  It looked like that the exercise worked and I could walk for a while.  I passed by a Ramen (Noodle) shop and a Donuts shop.  I couldn’t resist the smell, and I was dying to get in the shop and eat as much as I could.  There was no other option for penniless man, but continued to walk.  I turned right to the Yamate Street, and I saw Shinjuku Skyscrapers.  I got a real sense of being liberated, feeling  “Oh! I’m finally free.”

However, as I didn’t walk 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 knees by my 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 4 hours to get to the intersection of Shoto 2-Chome in Shibuya.  But I couldn’t walk at all any more at the intersection due to acute pain on my knees.  Also it was already at 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 and old looking jersey knit pants, and leather shoes.  My hair did not look good as I cut them by myself.  I was using a stick, and I must have been looked homeless.  It was the coldest time in the year.   The feeling that I would be frozen to death came across.  I prepared myself for my martyrdom.

The intersextion, which
Toru Goto met a UC member
photo: www.worldtimes.co.jp
I was determined to go forward as much as I could even if I crawled.  I started to ask passerby how to get to the Unification Church.  The 2nd person I approached was accidentally a UC member who was on the 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 the situation to the lady, she taught me how to get the UC Head Office.  After she realized that I couldn’t walk any longer, she called a taxi and paid the fare for me.

I was not treated as a human in 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.  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 12-year-confinement, and treated me as a suspicious person.  But he contacted someone who was in charge of abduction/confinement issue.  The man said to the security, “I have information that a man called Goto was in 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 to the Head Office building. 

They served a dinner for me, and offered to let me stay there for the night.  At the bed time, 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 as 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 generalized muscular weakness, disuse muscle atrophy (when muscles are not used, muscles atrophy and they become small and weak), anemia as well as malnutrition.

6.  After Hospitalization

I was admitted to the hospital at around 2:00am on Feb 11, 2008.  I was unable to walk as I had acute pain on 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.  At around Mar.4, 2008, I started to use both a walker and crutches.  At around Mar.10, I started to use a stick, but I was not recovered enough to go up or down on stairs.  My rehabilitation continued and I was discharged from the hospital on Mar.31.  However, I could not run, nor walk faster.  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 Japanese way) with my legs tucked under me as I had pains in my ankles.  Even now 3 years after the release, I feel a sense of discomfort if I sit in Japanese way.  Also after leaving the hospital, I couldn’t get up from the cross-legged position unless my body is supported by my arms touching the floor.  I strongly feel that the 12-year-confinement and the damage to my knees by walking on Feb. 10 have affected my physical state even after leaving the hospital.

 A few days later, after I was admitted to the hospital, I suffered from gastroenteritis and had persistent diarrhea.  It seemed that my resistance of the internal organs was down due to the protracted confinement.  I hardly saw 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 captors did not replace it.  Also they stopped providing eye drops.  My eyesight was 1.5 before the confinement, but it was dropped to 0.2 at the time of release from the confinement.  Before the confinement, I could drive without corrective lenses.  I can’t drive without glasses now.  Of course, my driver’s license was expired, so I had to start all over again from scratch to get a license.

Mr. Toru Goto at the hospital
Photo by Mr Kazuhiro Yonemoto
2 days later after 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 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 relating to the malnutrition due to abuses from family members. (Kazuhiro Yonemoto’s statement, dated on Mar.5, 2008)   It was Apr.2004 when I started hunger strike.  Miyamura’s last visit to me in the apartment was Feb. 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 to be released from the confinement.  If I did not go on hunger strikes 3 times risking my life (21 days in 2004, 21 days in 2005 and 30days in 2006), I would not have been released.  If they resumed normal meals after the hunger strike in Apr 2006, my weight would have been back to normal when I was released on Feb.10, 2008, which was 1year and 11 months later after the hunger strike.

I would like to add that I attended the Unification Church’s wedding ceremony in Sep. 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 was Iwamoto.  I now feel small happiness to get married and settle down in my 40s after such a long time.

7.  At the End

Japan guarantees religious freedom.  Those acts such 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 by the abuses 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 confinement?  My elder brother and his wife chose by their free will to become the Unification Church members and had faith in the Unification Church.  After they left church, they lied by claiming, “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 “Lost Youth Compensation Case” against the Unification Church and won compensation from the church.

In comparing to that, I was continued to be confined in a small room since I was 31 years old until I was 44 years old.  They deprived me of not only my freedom of religion, freedom of marriage, freedom of choice in employment, freedom of movement and freedom of vote, but they denied and violated my human dignity.  They spoiled my precious life.   I continued to receive criticism, smear and defamation which denied humanity, and also violence to maintain the confinement room.  I received torture of food sanction, and I was continuously forced to decide to withdraw from the church.

I could not only receive any medical checks, but I was not allowed to go to a doctor in the 40 degrees temperature.  I was not released even when I was 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 the cruel and brutal treatments from the captors, the more I was convinced that Miyamura and family members were evil creatures.  In spite of the physical and mental abuses during the 12 years and 5 months confinement, one of the reasons why I didn’t lose my faith was that I was determined not to join such 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 you raise an alarm against the forcible deprogramming practices which are occurring even now carried out by the deprogrammers including Matsunaga or Miyamura.  I also wish not only for my personal relief, but these human rights violations in the forcible conversion practices are ceased.
Translated by Yoshi

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