HRWF Issues Report Documenting Curtailment of Freedom of Religion in Japan

31 December 2011 – HRWF Brussels 

Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF Int’l), an independent nongovernmental organization, has released a 62-page report that documents the abduction and confinement of Japanese citizens for the purpose of religious de-conversion, and the failure of Japanese police and judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such cases of domestic violence.

“The failure to provide the victims of such kidnappings with equal protection under the law, and the impunity of those responsible, constitute a serious violation of the Japanese people’s constitutionally guaranteed rights and the international human rights standards to which Japan is legally bound,” stated Willy Fautre, Director of the Brussels-based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers Int’l.

Fautre and Aaron Rhodes, an international human rights advocate who helped organize the report, interviewed numerous victims, who were mainly members of the Unification Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as journalists, lawyers, and experts. They also met with 10 members of the Japanese Diet to discuss the issue.

The kidnapping and often violent forced detention of Japanese who have joined these religious movements, usually by their own families along with “exit counselors,” has occurred for decades but has been ignored by police and judicial authorities despite unequivocal evidence of crimes.

“It is completely unacceptable that all known complaints against parents and exit counselors have been declared ineligible,” Aaron Rhodes said.

“In the face of such official negligence and impunity, one cannot state that there is freedom of religion in Japan,” he said.

Japan: Abduction and Deprivation of Freedom for the Purpose of Religious De-Conversion is available on-line at http://www.hrwf.net (on the homepage in the section “Our Reports” [or consult the links below]).

For interviews: Willy Fautre: 32 478 202069 – Email: w.fautre@hrwf.net
Aaron Rhodes: 49 170 323 8314 – Email: aaronarhodes@gmail.com