The Words of the Cook Family

Rally for Religious Freedom in Tokyo -- Rev. Moon jailing decried by 1,200 at rally in Tokyo

William Cook and Hiroyasu Tomaru
July 1984
New York Tribune Foreign Staff

The imprisonment of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon is not only a threat to the religious liberty of Christians but "a threat to anti-communists worldwide," said the organizer of a rally for religious freedom in Tokyo, July 31, 1984.

Masatoshi Matsushita, former president of Rikkyo (St. Paul's) University in Tokyo and chairman of the Professors World Peace Academy, organized the meeting, attended by 1,200 people including politicians, professors, journalists and religious leaders.

Shigenobu Inoue, a well-known journalist, asked, "Why would such a thing be able to happen in Reagan's America, the last bastion of freedom?" He outlined a series of allegations that he had investigated, indicating that communists had been involved, through congressional staff members, in promoting the investigations and accusations of Rev. Moon that have been going on in various branches of the U.S. government for the last 10 years.

U.S. 'Consternation' Seen

Dr. Richard Rubenstein, professor of religion at Florida State University and currently a visiting professor at a university in Nagoya, said that Rev. Moon was not attacked simply because of his anticommunism, as many anti-communists are free to walk the streets. He said he felt that Americans, who have been sending missionaries to Asia for over a hundred years, did not know how to deal with an Asian who was sending missionaries to mainstream America.

In addition he said, at a time when it is fashionable for the clergy to be leaning to the left, Rev. Moon broke another taboo by speaking out strongly against communism. Paraphrasing a popular Japanese saying, Rubenstein said that the combination of these elements made

Rev. Moon "a horrendously obvious nail that stuck up and had to be hammered down."

He also accused President Reagan of being politically afraid to become involved in an issue that he should support according to his stated views on religion and the state.

While Americans misunderstand the rising importance of Asia, he added, "they understand very well religious persecution and freedom," and the imprisonment of Rev. Moon will only make Americans more aware of him.

The political aspect of the case were discussed by Higashi Chikahara, a former fellow of the Brookings Institution, analyst for the World Bank and adviser to the U.S. government on relations with Japan. He returned to Japan to win election to the Diet (parliament). "I regard this court case as a historical international incident," he said.

Support from the Prime Minister

"I personally met with Prime Minister [Yasuhiro] Nakasone soon after Rev. Moon was imprisoned. I got the impression he was really concerned about Rev. Moon. He encouraged me to 'go everywhere on my behalf and appeal against the wrongdoings of the judicial authorities and also appeal for the early release of Rev. Moon."'

Another Diet member, Takahashi Oyama, said that for the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Rev. Moon's appeal was like God ignoring mankind's appeal." He added that he is going to the United States next month and "my utmost hope is to visit Rev. Moon in his prison cell and express my heartfelt appreciation and encouragement."

A personal touch was added to the meeting by Noboru Kamiyama, the 84 year-old father of Takeru Kamiyama, who is serving a 6-month sentence with Rev. Moon. The elder Kamiyama, who has been a minister in the Church of God for 60 years, found his voice breaking and tears filling his eyes as he told the assembly: "I completely trust my son. I trained him as a Christian. He is not the kind of person to do bad things. Some wrong force was behind this case."

The rally produced a statement and a letter of protest, copies of which were addressed to Reagan, Attorney General William French Smith, and Sens. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairmen of the Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Constitution, respectively.

These were presented to the U.S. Embassy after the rally by Matsushita, head of the organizing committee. 

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