The Words of the Burton Family

Japan's Kidnapping Issue Moves Higher on U.S. State Department Radar

Douglas Burton
March 23, 2010

Forced confinement and kidnapping in Japan is moving higher on the report ranking of the U.S. State Department. On Thursday, March 11, the State Department issued its annual Human Rights Report for 2009, and forced confinement was included. The report on Japan states: "The law provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice. However, the Unification Church continued to report that authorities did not intercede in reported cases of "'forced deprogramming' and confinement." "The fact that this was included in the Human Rights Report (HHR) represents a stronger degree of interest than inclusion only in the Religious Freedom Report. In addition, the HRR is more widely read and noticed," according to Dan Fefferman, president of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. The report can be read at: A formal complaint regarding police neglect of the human rights of Unificationist citizens in Japan has been distributed to delegates of more than 190 nations, as well as hundreds of other UN and NGO participants at the conference of the United Nation's Human Rights Council, meeting in Geneva until March 26, 2010. On March 11, 2010 the forced-confinement issue was highlighted as one of nine religious freedom cases on the official agenda of the conference. Documentation also was provided by representatives of the Universal Peace Federation to the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom.

U.S. media coverage of Japan's scandal of forced-confinement began in Texas. The Fort Worth Ecumenical Examiner informed readers on March 4rth of the forced-confinement issue. The article by Dr. Don Peavy, Sr., begins: "Rev. Dr. Michael Jenkins, national coordinator of the American Clergy Leadership Council (ACLC), has issued an urgent call to Japanese authorities to investigate the kidnappings of several members of the Unification Church by family members and others who force such persons to undergo 'deprogramming' or the rejection of their faith. In a letter to pastors throughout the United States, Dr. Jenkins wrote, 'We ask that all ACLC Pastors join our Co Presidents and I in writing a letter of concern about the violation of the religious freedom of Unification Church members in Japan.' He cited the alarming case of Toru Goto as an example of such violations." Read story here: 

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