Statement in Response to the Statement
of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification


July 20, 2022

National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales
Representative Lawyers:
Masaki Gouro (Sapporo)
Shuji Nakamura (Niigata)
Hidemasa Kawada (Okayama)
Keiichi Hiraiwa (Yokohama)
Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Tokyo)

Chief Secretary:
Yasuo Kawai, Lawyer

1.
We reiterate that the accused Yamagamifs act of taking the life of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must never be tolerated for any reason. We express our sincere condolences and pray that his soul will rest in peace.
The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification ("the Family Federation") (formerly named gThe Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianityh and also known as gthe Unification Churchh) released a statement dated July 17 (the Statement) in response to our press conference held on July 12.
We find the Statement distorts the facts so much that we decided to release this statement to refute and convey the correct facts.
2.
In the Statement, the Family Federation argues, gAs a religious organization whose mission is the salvation of souls, we cannot help but feel compassion for the tragedy that befell the Yamagami family.h and gIf such a tragedy has really occurred to the Yamagami family as a result, we must plainly admit that our organization was unable to adequately support the Yamagami family in bringing about their salvation and happiness.h
However, it is a historical fact that many families have been driven to collapse due to the Family Federationfs illegal recruitment/indoctrination activities and gdonation campaignh that is merciless to the extent of forcing members to go bankrupt. If the motive of the accused is as reported by the media, the "tragedy that befell the Yamagami family" obviously was caused by the Family Federation, and it is irresponsible for the Family Federation to use gglossy nice wordsh as if the tragedy is an issue of somebody unrelated to them.
3.
The Family Federation further argues in the Statement, "We strongly protest against the allegations that our activities caused the case, and protest against the various views expressed about our organization which is unrelated to the case.h
However, as stated above, if the motive of the accused is as reported by the media, recruiting the mother of the accused to the Family Federation and making her donate enough money to financially devastate her family is a significant factor in this case. Defending themselves by stating that the Family Federation is gunrelated to the caseh is utterly irresponsible. The UPF, to which former Prime Minister Abe sent a video message, is a front organization of the Family Federation and is evidently related to the Family Federation. In fact, a written allegation submitted to the court by an attorney representing the Family Federation asserts that the Family Federation gjointly hostedh with UPF (Universal Peace Federation) the inauguration ceremony of Think Tank 2022 on May 9, 2021, an event held before Think Tank 2022 rally on September 12, 2021, to which former Prime Minister Abe sent a message. Based on this fact, we can only assume that Family Federationfs statement emphasizing UPF being a separate entity is sophistry to avoid their responsibility.
4.
The Family Federation further argues in the Statement, "In the first place, this declaration of compliance was issued in response to several cases in the past where the excessive activities of some members were found illegal, and the Family Federation was held liable as their employer for failing to guide and supervise them sufficiently, and with this declaration, the Family Federation proclaimed to take responsibility to guide its members to comply with laws and regulations and do not offend public policy.h
However, the illegal conducts under the Family Federation were not merely the result of "the excessive activities of some members.h They have instead been gorganizationally" repeated for many years. Since 1994, many court decisions recognizing the Family Federationfs liability as an employer have been accumulated. Furthermore, there is a case where the court acknowledged activities of the Family Federation themselves as gorganizational torth and recognized the tort liability of the Family Federation (Tokyo District Court on January 13, 2016, upheld by Tokyo High Court on June 28, 2016; Shouhishahou News Vol. 107, p.329 and Vol. 109, p.200).
In addition, although the Family Federation claims to have issued the "declaration of compliance," we have not been able to confirm if illegal activities have been abolished because the organization lacks transparency to outsiders. In fact, multiple court decisions have expressly recognized that there were illegal solicitations of donations even after 2009.
Furthermore, the Family Federation has offered no sincere apology or compensation to those who suffered damages before 2009. In court, the Family Federation continues to argue that recruitment by hiding real identity and solicitation of donations causing bankruptcy are voluntary conducts by individual members of the church. If they are to live up to their own word of gcompliance,h they should not just talk about the future. They should face their past wrongdoings sincerely and examine and compensate for their illegal activities. Not doing so makes it hard to say that the Family Federation is in fair compliance.
5.
The Family Federation further argues in the Statement, "In the past, there were cases in which members who had voluntarily offered donations based on pure faith subsequently changed their minds and asked for refunds," and gwe have been working in good faith to resolve such cases and instructing our people to do so.h
However, the Family Federation has been conducting recruitment and indoctrination (Devine Principles) without disclosing its real identity as a religious organization formerly named the Unification Church. Recruiters of the Family Federation do not provide information that matters the most, deceive the target recruitees with false facts, incite fear using threatening stories of karma and fate, and trigger a sense of guilt and mission by using psychological pressure. Such conduct by the Family Federation should be evaluated as a "serious threat" to the religious freedom of the recruitee(s) (Sapporo District Court, June 29, 2001; Hanrei Times Vol. 1121, p. 202). Thus, the Family Federation drives recruitees to feel owed and bewildered and then makes them pay as large initial donations as possible by telling them that further misfortune will befall their families due to karma if donations are not made. Such donations cannot be gvoluntarily offered donations based on pure faith.h
In addition, not only does the Family Federation dispute the claims of former members seeking refunds of their donated money, and in recent years, it has been systematically taking measures to prevent refund demands, such as making members sign and seal a gwritten agreementh to the effect that members will not demand such refunds in the future. Such practices are far from gworking in good faith to resolve such cases.h (All levels of the court held such an agreement to be violating public order and that it is invalid: Tokyo District Court on February 28, 2020; Tokyo High Court on December 3, 2020; Supreme Court on September 3, 2021).
6.
The Family Federation further argues in the Statement, gsurvey reports such as eFact-Finding Survey Resultsf published by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations compiled mainly by members of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales accounts all of the consultation cases concerning our organization brought to the lawyersf network and Consumer Affairs Centers as edamages,f and such results are padded and inaccurate. In addition, these results represent only biased information on the side of the parties pursuing legal actions against us.h
However, these survey reports are not published by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations in the first place, and as a matter of course, we have never padded the survey results. Considering that not all those who have left the Family Federation raise their voices for recovering damages, these results reflect only the tip of an iceberg. The actual aggregate damage would be far more significant than these survey results. (A former Korean head of a church in Japan under the Family Federation recently told a media outlet that about 55 to 60 billion yen was transferred every year from the Unification Church in Japan to Korea.)
7.
The Family Federation also argues in the Statement, "Our members have once been victims of illegal human rights violations such as abduction, confinement, and forced disaffiliation with our church,h and gsome of the lawyers have visited the sites of such abduction, confinement, and forced disaffiliation, have turned blind eyes to the illegal conducts, or represented the perpetrators in court and gained financial benefits.h
However, this statement should be called propaganda to cover up the Family Federation's illegal activities by pretending to be the victim. There indeed were cases where some people had gone too far in hoping to rescue their family members who had joined the church, and their responsibilities were recognized. Yet, there is no fact that such practices had been widely used as the Family Federation insists, and none of the lawyers of our network had any involvement in such practices and benefitted financially.
8.
The Family Federation argues in the Statement that the statement by one of our lawyers (at the press conference) presented "an extreme opinion that suggests justification of the act of terrorism against former Prime Minister Abe.h
However, as stated in the first above, the accused Yamagamifs act can never be justified for any reason, and we oppose any and all violence and hate crimes. The statement by Mr. Masaki Gouro, the speaker of the subject statement, is presented in the attachment hereto.
 


back