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Luck of Religious Freedom in Japan: Takako Fujita's story

Luck of Religious Freedom in Japan Leads to Illegal Kidnappings: The story of Takako Fujita, Life of Ms. Takako Fujita
The Japanese attitude in regards to religious freedom and total lack of a human rights leads to illegal kidnappings, torture and ripe of thousands of innocent believers. Such is the story of Takako Fujita.

Suicide of a Kidnapped Japan UC Believer

This is disturbing on many levels. In no civilized country should be allowed such violation of human rights and the freedom to chose their faith. This"incident" itself happened just over 13 years ago, but hundreds of other believers are being kidnapped in Japan even today.

Life of Ms. Takako Fujita (English Version)
Who on earth could take away Takako's life? Takako was kidnapped and put in illegal confinement because of her faith. Now after 13 years facts could be exposed in full. Pastor Takeo Funada in Kyoto was reportedly involved in Takako's forcible conversion.

13 years ago in March 1997, when she was coming back home from South Korea, Takako was kidnapped at her parents' house, transferred to Kyoto, then pressed to leave the Unification Church by force. Takako spent 4 months in confinement, on 13th of July 1997, just after her 27th birthday had passed she ended her short life. We can only imagine what torture she must have experienced. That was her only chance to escape, but she couldn't survive and was pronounced dead early next morning at the hospital.

The religious persecution has victimized over 4,300 followers of the Unification Church. Recently kidnapped member could escape after 12 years of such illegal confinement. He was starved to death, tortured in many ways, yet he never lost his faith.

On August 25, 1995, Ms. Fujita was married to Mr. Lee, a Korean man, at the International Marriage Blessing Ceremony of the Unification Church. According to Mr. Kamono, a photo of Ms. Fujita and Mr. Lee at the ceremony shows a shy but happy couple. After the Blessing, Ms. Fujita devoted more time to the church activities. In December 1996, she moved to South Korea to join Mr. Lee.

The situation took a sudden, tragic turn when she made a homecoming visit to her parents' house on March 8, 1997. According to a Unification Church member well acquainted with Ms. Fujita, she was looking forward to seeing her parents, expecting their appreciation and support for her marriage. To her surprise, she was kidnapped at her parents' house.

Only on July 15, 1997, church friends of Ms. Fujita learned that her funeral had been held on July 14. Ms. Fujita's family members explained that she had died of a brain clot on the morning of July 13th. However, it sounded a bit far- fetched that a young woman in her twenties would die of a brain clot. When the friend inquired with the funeral home, one person spoke up: "I am not supposed to say this to people other than her family, but she seems to have committed suicide."

The church officials complained to a Japanese Minister of Police at the time of her death that the coercive circumstances of her confinement likely contributed to her death, but police refused to investigate a crime and treated the matter as a "simple suicide," according to Mr. Mamoru Kamono, director of public relations for the Unification Church in Japan.

The name of a Christian minister involved in the case was also revealed.

Since 1966, more than 4,300 Unification Church members in Japan have suffered kidnapping and forced conversion efforts. Japanese government prosecutors have investigated few of the cases, and no criminal indictments have resulted.

On July 11, 2010 a special memorial service for sending her to the spirit world, known as a "Seunghwa," was held to honor Ms. Takako Fujita who was tragically tortured to death. The event hall was packed with more than two hundred church members and leaders of affiliated organizations. The ceremony was transmitted via internet across Japan and more than 20,000 church members at about 300 local churches attended online.

Has no one in Japan ever heard of dialogue or even the logic of belief revision?

The inhuman practices of kidnap, confinement and forcible conversion is designed to bring the victim to the verge of despair. There are thousands of testimonies of ripe, torture, starving and deprivation of sleep in the insane attempt to deprogram one's personal choice of faith through inhuman "brain-washing" techniques similar to those used in communist and Nazi's concentration camps.

The Japanese attitude, both current and historical in regards to religious freedom as well as the total lack of a human rights tradition continues to perplex and damage the heart of the family of modern nations. Even respected Buddhist priest recently called for Japan to stop forced conversion of Unificationists.
Respected Buddhist priest: Stop Forced Conversion of Unificationists

An Autumn/Winter 2000 paper by Tokihisa Sumimoto in the International Journal of Peace Studies seems to confirm this with its conclusion still being ominously transparent today:

"Religious freedom in Japan is being gradually but steadily eroded by a variety of different political and social forces. Because average citizens are indifferent to these issues, prospects for a reversal of this trend appear bleak. The absence of a cultural atmosphere conducive to religious liberty is simultaneously a result and a cause of Japan's underdeveloped civil liberty tradition. Furthermore, there have been few influential religious movements-with the exception of some minority organizations such as Soka Gakkai-or educational reform efforts promoting the ideal of independent moral judgment as opposed to the dominant tradition of submission to authority. Finally, the judicial independence needed to effectively oppose state encroachment on religious and civil liberties is largely undeveloped in the Japanese system.

The Japanese government has recently claimed that it is prepared to take on more responsibilities in the sphere of international security, and has indicated a willingness to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. However, the development of a mature democracy and a robust tradition of civil and religious liberty is a necessary prerequisite for recognition as a truly civilized, peace-loving country which can assume such responsibilities. Japan's stature as the world's second largest economy is not, in itself, sufficient qualification for such a role without corresponding achievements in the reform of its social and political culture."

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Part 2 of Takako Fujita's story can be seen here.

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