Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Goto's Court Case - Turning Point of Deprogramming in Japan

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More than 4000 people of the Unification Church members have been kidnapped and confined against their will for the purpose of religious de-conversion (deprogramming) in Japan since 1966, and still occurring now (2013).

The deprogramming methods and practices involve kidnapping, confinement, coercive persuasion, physical violence, psychological isolation & harassment, and in some cases rape or suicide, and the confinement continues for weeks, months and years.

There are professional deprogrammers and Christian pastors who control parents behind the scene.  Japanese authorities regard the deprogramming practices "family matters", and the police fail to rescue the victims.  Media and human rights organizations in Japan are not interested in raising the issue as it happens to minor, unpopular and controversial religious organizations. 

According the recent study conducted by a Japanese university professor, 12.5% of the victims are suffering PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as after-effects even 20 years after the ordeal.

The ethical and legal issues of deprogramming has been raised in Western society in 1980s, and the practices were ceased completely in early 1990s.

But not in Japan.  The malicious crimes of deprogramming are still occurring in Japan in 2013. 

 As an extreme example, Mr. Toru Goto (the Unification Church member) was held in confinement against his will for 12 years and 5 months (Sep.11, 1995 - Feb.10, 2008) in an attempt to force him to renounce the faith.

Photo = Mr. Toru Goto
At the hospital after release
from 12-year confinement.
Feb 2008

Toru Goto lodged a criminal complaint against deprogrammers and family members in 2008, but it was declined by prosecutors.  The prosecutors' decision was supported by Inquest Committee.  Toru Goto lost the way to pursuit in criminal case in 2010.

Mr. Goto filed a civil suit against deprogrammers (Mr. Takashi Miyamura, Pastor Masunaga and his church, and family members (elder brother and his wife, younger sister) in 2011, and after almost 3 years of court battles, the judgement will be handed down on Dec 17, 2013.

I believe that Toru Goto's case will be major turning point in the History of Deprogramming in Japan as if Jason Soctt's civil case in the USA ceased the deprogramming practices and bankrupted CAN (Cult Awareness Network).

This blog and my facebook page "Human Rights Violations in Japan"  will update you with more information in relating to the Toru Goto's court case and deprogramming issues in Japan towards the judgement day.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toru Goto's Case Ends before Christmas 2013

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Mr. Toru Goto, a victim of 12-year-confinement filed a civil lawsuit on Jan 31, 2011.  Since then until the end of 2012, 12 sessions were held at the Tokyo District Court.  Those sessions are officially called "Oral Proceedings", but they are basically for the confirmation of submitted documents form both sides.

In 2013, the following 5 sessions were held. These sessions consisted of examination-in-chief and cross-examination of the plaintiff,  witnesses and the defendants.  (Examination-in-chief is the proceeding of the questions and answers to the plaintiff, witnesses, the defendants from their own lawyer(s).  Cross-examination is the proceeding from opponent's lawyer(s).  I myself was in Tokyo to observe the last 2 sessions in June 2013.
Mar. 11, 2013 10:00-17:00 Examination of Plaintiff, Toru Goto 
Apr. 8, 2013 10:00-17:00 Examination of Witnesses
                                         One from plaintiff, One from defendants
May 14, 2013 10:00-15:00 Examination of Toru Goto's Brother

Jun 3, 2013 10:00-17:00 Examination of Toru Goto's Brother's Wife
                                        Examination of Pastor Matsunaga
Jun 17, 2013 10:00-17:00 Examination of Toru Goto's Sister
                                          Examination of Takashi Miyamura

Then, the case was concluded with the submission of the final statements from both sides on Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013.  It had 18 sessions in total and took almost 3 years.  The judgement day is very close now.  The judgement day was arranged by the judge as follows.  I will try to be in Japan to witness the judgement, which I hope should have very strong impact on the deprogramming practices in Japan.
Judgement day of Toru Goto's Case:
Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 (1:30pm)
Room 709, Tokyo District Court

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Open Letter from European and US Human Rights Organizations to Japan

Today (Mar. 11, 2013), a court hearing of Toru Goto's case was held in Tokyo District Court in Japan.  Today's court session was direct examination and counter-examination to the plaintiff (Toru Goto).  As soon as I hear the details of the today's session, I will write on this blog.

European and US human rights organization wrote an open letter to Japanese authorities in order to stop the kidnappings.  Central-European Religious Freedom Institute published the letter.  I quote the letter here, together with Japanese translation. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Toru Goto's Court Battle Goes Into 3rd Year

Mr. Toru Goto, a victim of 12-year-confinement filed a lawsuit on Jan 31, 2011.  His court case is entering into 3rd year.   

The court procedures in the past 2 years are called "Oral Proceedings", but they are proceedings of submitting documents such as statements, counter-statements, briefs, counter-claims etc. from both sides.  More than 200 documents were submitted from Goto side.

This articles shows the schedule of the Goto court case for the first half of 2013.