November 21, 2009, Headquarters Church, Seoul Korea
So many former members like that visited me in my confinement place; they all looked very different from when they were in the church. They don’t have hope, there is something about them very different. The only thing they live for is to oppose the Unification Church. That’s the way they had to change. These people would try to convince me to deny my faith, and after a while it psychologically become difficult to endure.
Yeon Ah Nim
Welcome brothers and sisters, welcome to the headquarters of our Unification church. Today we have a guest speaker; I am sure you all know him and want to meet him. We heard about him so much but today we are going to meet him in person. He came from Japan. We want to welcome Goto san. Let us give him a warm applause. Thank you Goto san for your true faith for True Parents.
Hyung Jin Nim
Welcome brothers and sisters. Let’s begin by manifesting the principle.
I hope all of you picked up the pamphlet that is being given out.It tells this incredible story of not only one man but thousands of brothers and sisters particularly in Japan who are not only being persecuted but are having their human rights being stripped away from them. Their democratic freedom being stripped from them. This is not only a Japanese issue as the holocaust was not just a German/Jewish issue. It is a worldwide Unificationist issue just as the holocaust was a worldwide Jewish issue. We need to realize that although Japan may be far away from us and that although Korea is a different country, this is something that does impact our community. This is something that we need to find justice in. I want to share in this context True Father’s words. (Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 783)
“What kinds of people live with the hope of the love of God? They are those that can cross joyfully over the valley of death that brings sorrow to humankind. Those are the people who hold on to the hope of God. Therefore you should not become someone who in the face of death resents and laments over all of the affairs of this world. Instead you should become someone who can stand before heaven with joy and be proud of the value of your death. We should know that God is looking for the sons and daughters of hope. God cannot help loving a person who feels the joy of heaven in such a situation. He cannot help but answer the cry of a group of people who cry out to him from such a position.”
Brothers and sisters today in this modern world the group who are crying out to him in this kind of situation are our Unificationists. Let us give it up for our worldwide Unification family. Today we want to really honor those who have been through these illegal, forcible confinements and this undemocratic deprogramming. We know that a lot of our brothers and sisters not only in Japan but in other countries as well have encountered and have gone through the trauma of that. Today we want to remember them and also instill within our hearts the incredible victory and the incredible hope and faith that has brought these incredible heroes of our faith to be able to stand now on the world stage and to be able to talk about the incredible holocaust that has been perpetuated against these people who truly serve the Messiah with faith and love and filial piety. Brothers and sisters let us all rise and do the family pledge.
Introduction of the speaker by Hyung Jin Nim:
Brothers and sisters when you came in you should have received this pamphlet entitled “Abduction, Confinement, Deprogramming, and a Modern-day Holocaust.” We encouraged the brothers and sisters to take a look at that to inform themselves. We need all brothers and sisters to be educated about this issue. It’s a very big issue to understand and to learn about it, and also to talk about it. The world needs to know that the Unification Church has been a victim at the hands of illegal practices, because we’re a community of faith, and we have true faith, and we have the truth and because we serve True Parents. This is why our human rights have been forcibly stolen, in many of our brothers’ and sisters’ cases around the world.
This is the time where we really as a unification community must not be irresponsible in a sense that we say it’s a Japanese issue. It’s not. It’s a human rights violation, with over 4,300 cases. This is a Unificationist worldwide issue. Brothers and sisters, we absolutely encourage all of you to take a look at what happened – the real stories are in there – and understand that it’s just a very small portion of the incredible number of victims that are present in our church.
Today we are going to have Mr. Toru Goto speak to us. A lot of us have heard about him. We spoke about him many times during the service. A lot of us have seen his pictures. After he was able to leave his confinement, after 12 years and 5 months, we heard some of the incredible details. They’re just atrocious, absolutely atrocious. It’s a horror that is happening in a modern democratic state, Japan, the 2nd economic power in the world. It’s an absolute atrocity. He was confined for over 12 years, in a room the size of six “Tatami mats.” The size of them is very small. Now notice how small that room is. Probably it’s not more than 10×10 feet. He was confined and kidnapped there and all the windows were barred up, mashed up, so he couldn’t leave. Twelve years he had to spend there, not ten days. If any of us were kidnapped for one day or even ten days think how dramatic that would be. This is 12 years and 5 months. This is unbelievable.
Mr. Toru Goto was born in Yamakata, Japan, on the 2nd of November, 1963. He’s very smart. He went to Nihon University and his older brother invited him to learn the Divine Principle. Then later he became a member of the Unification Church. After graduating in 1987 with a degree in Architecture, he started working in a construction company. That’s when his first kidnapping occurred in October, 1987. He successfully escaped pretending to surrender his faith after one month of confinement. He was kidnapped again many years later on September 11, 1995. The confinement continued for 12 years and 5 months until he was released on February 10, 2008.
Brothers and sisters let us give Goto-san a big round of encouraging applause for his great incredible faith (Applause)
Incredible! I was speaking with him downstairs and I mentioned that in Korea one of the greatest saints is a Buddhist monk by the name of Son Cheol Sinim. I told him that Son Cheol Sinim went for an ascetic practice and stayed in a small room for 8 years as a training practice. That’s revered. It’s something incredible. Eight years he spent in a tiny room practicing and confined. He didn’t let himself out. Goto-san is not even a short 8 years. His level of faith, dedication and perseverance for 12 years and 5 months of kidnapping and forced confinement is absolutely amazing.
On October 2008 together with other victims and determined people, he founded a civil group called “The Association to Eliminate Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion.” At present he serves as vice-representative of the group. Brothers and sisters, before we invite him up let us watch this brief introduction video of this issue. Let’s see the video. (The video title is Abduction and Confinement; it summarizes Mr. Toru Goto’s confinement story).
Brothers and sisters as we welcome Goto san to the stage I want all of you to rise up and give him a big warm round of applause. Here is one of the heroes of our faith. Let’s give it up for Goto san.
Main Sermon: Testimony of Mr. Toru Goto:
I’d like to express my deep gratitude to God, True Parents and to our international presidents, Hyung Jin Nim and Yeon Ah Nim that I was given this opportunity to come to the Headquarters Church to give my testimony to you today.
I’d like to testify to you today about my experience of being confined and kidnapped for 12 years and 5 months. It’s a long period so if I tell you everything, you’ll be here until tomorrow morning, so I’d like to focus just on the points where I was in my greatest struggles.
I’d like first to explain to you about the apartment where I was confined. What you see now is an 8 story building nearly in the center of Tokyo, and I was in this room for 12 years. This is how the door was locked. There was a chain this way from the inside and there was also a padlock on it. This is the window. You can see there is a mash wire in the glass. Normally, with a window lock you can still open the window, but when you see the hole in the middle there, you have to enter the key and turn it in order for the window to open. All the windows were locked this way, so they couldn’t be opened by me.
This is the layout of the apartment. It’s a good layout to confine someone in. Two sisters have been confined in such an apartment in the same building on a different floor. The reason why this layout is good for confining people is this. I was in the bottom, in the 6 mats room. Above that there is a kitchen and a bathroom, and a place for washing up. Of course I went to the bathroom, and I took a bath. You cannot be there for 12 years and not take a bath, but this was the layout so the person just can live in the space below without having to go anyplace else. Because it’s an eight story building you have to go by the main entrance in order to get in and out, and you cannot go to the main door of the apartment without going through the other 2 rooms, and you have to go through another door to get to the main exit of the apartment.
This is an apartment that has been reconstructed in order to confine people. This is a place in Tokyo called “Okikubo,” so please remember this place. This is where this abduction started. The place got reconstructed so that the people confined there, especially the unification church members, could not get out unless they leave the church. So it’s a confining apartment building. This is what was going on and even today is going on around Japan; there is this kind of thing going on in various places. I’d like you to know that although Japan is a democratic country and legislatively there is a guarantee from the constitution, still these things are going on. Remember that fact.
So let me tell you what was going on in that apartment. First of all – and this is true with many people who were confined – a person being confined wants somehow to get a message out. So many people cry out, they scream, and the person next door can hear that voice saying, “I am confined here, I want to be helped!” They cry out that way, so that’s what I did in the beginning. This is how I shouted: “This is a confinement place, help, call the police!” Day after day I’d cry out like that but then after a while I began to realize that nobody is going to hear me. Maybe I need to be louder, maybe if I have a higher pitch in my voice it might work. So I began to cry out like a woman’s voice and that kind of higher pitch in my voice was loud, but then my confiners would cover me with sleeping quilts. Several people were with me in the apartment and they would put me under the quilts so nobody could hear me shouting.
Then when I was taking a bath, there was an exhaust fan above the bathtub and sometimes through it I could hear the sound of other people in the building taking a bath. I thought if I could shout through that fan they could hear me, so I shouted and cried out into that as loud as I could. Then the person who was trying to get me to leave the church would come into the bathroom. He immediately would grab me by the back of the neck and pull me down and drag me all the way to the kitchen and drag me to the back room. That was the way I was spending my days.
The man who tried to convince me to leave the church was a man named “MiyamaTakashi.” He’s among many people who are doing these kinds of activities. Some of them are Christian ministers. So what do they say to the people when they have them in such a confinement? “You’re being confused, you’re being lied to, and you’re not able to think with your own mind. You’re the slave of Sun Myung Moon, so that’s why your family and I brought you here to protect you, so you will never leave this place till you learn to think with your own mind.”
They would start feeding people all the nasty and terrible lies and rumors about True Father, True Parents and the True Family. All these one-sided things they start feeding them.
This “Miyama Takashi” would come to Korea several times and he would gather materials from former members and other people in Korea, then he would take those things back to Japan, and he’d use these materials to try to convince the Unification Church members to deny their faith. This content that he was telling us was really terrible but we had to listen. Of course, it’s all untrue, the separation of blood for example, and all the terrible lies about the sexual scandals involving Father. He would give that content with very graphic terms, very concrete. They know that even if they would leave that stuff in my room, I wouldn’t read it. Therefore they would sit beside me and read it to me and force me to listen to it.
As I was listening I felt as though my spirit self had been slashed, cut by a sharp knife. That cannot be true, it’s so shocking. I knew that this is not true but being in a confined place I was forced to listen to it day after day.
When we think about True Parents we think about the bright aura and the glorious mission they have, but that image of Father slowly began to change. It became unimpressive and began to crumble. This is why most of the members who are confined and are put through that kind of experience – seven out of ten people – are not able to endure this kind of pain. You may wonder why so many strong people left the church. It is because of these confinement places. This is terrible place where this false information is repeated over and over, day after day and eventually several members are not able to endure that kind of experience. So they lose their faith.
I also had this experience for just a brief moment, to think that Father actually is a satanic existence, and I could feel Satan whispering in my ear, “Is this the kind of man you believe is the Messiah? Are you going to continue to believe in this kind of man?” This is the kind of incredible spiritual experience that I was going through.
When I was confined I was visited by many former members. Those are people who were confined and through this kind of experiences left the church, and these are all people who loved God, True Parents and worked hard in the church. I was also visited by many members who had been working with me in the church, even my team leader in a workshop, who left the church and tried and hoped to convince me to leave the church as well. She was blessed with the 30,000 couples blessing but after that she was confined, and when she got out of that she returned to the church, but then she was confined a second time.
After the first time of confinement and escape there are good chances that people opposing will try to do it a second and a third time. That’ s why now in Japan there are many members who change their names and addresses and live underground in order to avoid the repetition of this kind of experience. This team leader came to me and she said,” Goto, I’m glad to see you after a long time.” She said, “You’re doing something really stupid, why don’t you understand this?” and she began to cry in tears, but I said, ” I don’t think what you said is right”. Then she began to shout, “Aren’t you listening to me?” There was a cup of green tea that was still hot, and she picked it up and threw it into my face. I became wet. When she was my team leader she loved me so much, she guided me really wonderfully. I could never imagine that she would do this to me, that she would throw the tea in my face. She wasn’t this kind of person before. She was a wonderful person when she was with me in the church.
So many former members like that visited me in my confinement place; they all looked very different from when they were in the church. They don’t have hope, there is something about them very different. The only thing they live for is to oppose the Unification Church. That’s the way they had to change. These people would try to convince me to deny my faith, and after a while it psychologically become difficult to endure. I really came to the border where I didn’t know if I can continue with my faith. This is the place where many people have been confined, and you begin to feel you would rather die than betray True Parents. At one point I was in so much in pain. So at night I’d pray, “God, if possible please don’t let me wake up tomorrow, please just take me to the Spirit World tonight.” Sometimes I’d pray like that.
I was confined when I was 31 years old, and I was approaching 40 in confinement, and I began to wonder whether I am going to be separated from society for the rest of my life. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t make noise, so I decided that the only thing I could do is to fast. “I’m going to protest, to fast.” So I fasted for 21 days on 2 occasions, and on the third occasion for 30 days.
Then my family was more and more unhappy with that. After my 30 day fast my physical strength was at the limit. I thought I needed to stop the fast, so I called my family in and I said I will stop fasting. I told them because I expected that they would give me some food the next day, but the next day I was given no food. So I said to them, “I’m sorry. I actually stopped fasting.” And the family said to me, “You are ready to die, right? Why don’t you fast till you die?” So I thought, “Maybe it’s God’s will that I die here.” But I decided, “That’s not right, I can’t die here.” So I asked them honestly to give me food, and from that day they did.
You know when you cook rice, you cook with water, and so they would take the water from cooking the rice, put it into a small bowl and give me this water. That’s what they gave me 3 times a day and a sport drink once a day. I thought I should fast. I thought maybe they were doing this to help me recover from my fast. But this kept up a week, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks. They were serving me the same way, the same food. This was the same as not eating anything at all. And I began to feel I may die of hunger.
There was a refrigerator right in front of me in the room. I thought I can take some spices and eat those spices like mayonnaise, some sauce, ketchup, and maybe they would not find out. I would endure by taking a little bit from that each day. But after a while I discovered that someone took all those away and hid them so I couldn’t find them. Of course, it was very different from Father’s situation in Heung Nam, but it reminded me very much of that. And when you’re hungry like that, you begin to lose your rational thinking. You are desperate to eat something, anything, and in the kitchen sink there were some apple peels and some cut-off portions of carrots, and I ate those in a way that no one would notice. But then soon they stopped leaving those things in the sink.
And finally I thought of the rice that was not cooked. Before you cook rice you have to let it sit for a while in water, so I thought of eating the raw rice that was sitting, soaking in water. That was hard but I would put it in my mouth and chew it until it became liquid before swallowing it. Then I tried to grab a whole handful, and then they put water in there and cooked the rice in that. I was sitting at the same table with them. And they would start to think, “It seems the rice these days is kind of watery.” Because I would take some rice they were cooking it with too much water compared to the amount of rice, and they began to notice that there was too much water in their rice. I kept asking God to help me so they would not find out what I was doing, and fortunately until the end, they didn’t realize that I was doing that, until I was released there, which was about 2 years later.
Gradually, they began to give me more food over that period. They were eating regular meals but I was given pickled, white radish, roots and things like that, the same menu every day. This is how they explained, “You did all that work in the U.C. We went all through this trouble to create this environment for you, but you don’t try to think for yourself, you don’t try to find out about the U.C on your own. That kind of person doesn’t deserve to eat regular meals.” That is how they justified cutting down my food.
On February 10 last year, 2008, my family came into my room. They asked me, “Do you want to find out about the U.C.?” But over the years I had never changed my position. Over the years I was telling them, “You call this protection? This is not protection, this is arrogance. This is confinement and an attempt to take away my U.C. faith. Stop this crime, stop this human rights violation!” That is what I kept telling them during the time I was kept there. When my older brother heard me saying that he said, “OK. Get out of here.” I was 44 years old then. I left there without a penny in my pocket. I was angry about that. I had an argument with them but I was malnourished, so they picked me up, and they threw me out of the front door. They tossed me out, and my older brother picked up a pair of shoes that I was wearing when I was first confined and threw them out at me. So that is how I was released after 12years and 5 months.
I’m truly grateful to God and TP for letting me maintain my faith during that long period, but this is after 12 years. I didn’t know what to do after I was thrown out of the apartment just like that. The only church location that I knew in my head was the HQ church in Japan, so I started walking towards that. There was a police box on my way, so I entered there and I told them what had been done to me. I said, “I was confined there in that apartment right there for 12 years,” but I was not expecting much.
Many times in these confinement situations, the police are actually involved, but the police officers always say this is something between the parents and their children, “We are not going to get involved,” and in most cases the police refuse to have anything to do with it. I was not expecting much from that policeman, and sure enough he didn’t do anything. He refused to listen to what I had to say. So I said, “All right. But any way, I was thrown out of the apartment without a penny in my pocket. Please give me at least a train fare,” but he said, “I can’t give money to a stranger,” so I asked him to draw a map then. I used that map to walk to the HQ church.
I later saw it was a distance of about 10 km. I thought maybe I could walk about 3 hours. But because I had not been walking for a long time, about half way there my knees began to hurt and I couldn’t continue to walk normally. So I picked up a stick that was lying by the side of the street and used it as a staff in order to continue to walk. Finally I came to the main road in the vicinity of the HQ church. I was in so much pain, and I couldn’t walk anymore. This was in February and it was a cold period, and I was kicked out in the evening. This was late at night and I was malnourished. And I was afraid that if were to climb the stairs and fall, I might freeze to death. I was wearing a sweater but in the fight we had at the end, it was torn a bit, and I was wearing a jersey, training pants and the pair of shoes that you saw a while ago.
I had been cutting my own hair over the years, so it wasn’t cut very cleanly and I was using a walking stick and could barely walk, so I probably looked like a beggar and people would pass by but everyone would ignore me. At that time, I was telling myself, “I don’t know where God is going to lead me, but I will continue to do my 5 % until the end.” I wasn’t sure I was in the vicinity, and I wasn’t sure how to get exactly to the church so I decided to ask someone. First I asked a man. He said, “I don’t know.” Then there was a young woman and when she came around the corner, I called out to her, “Excuse me, I think that the HQ of the HSAUWC is somewhere in this neighborhood. Do you happen to know it?”
This is how I was looking with my walking stick. I could barely stand. Then she stopped and said, “I’m a member of that church,” and she showed me a copy of the Holy Songs and I thought that this is really the person that God has sent to me. I told her what had happened, and when I was confined I didn’t have any information about what may have happened to True Father. I thought it was possible because of his advanced age that he may have passed on to the spirit world, so I asked her, “Is True Father healthy?” She smiled and said, “Yes, he’s in good health.” I was so grateful to hear that.
She called a taxi and gave me some money. That is how finally I could make my way to the church. But I was in a situation where I couldn’t go to the toilet by myself so I was taken to the hospital that day. The doctor who saw me diagnosed me with malnutrition and inflammation of the knees.
Most of the people who carry out this kind of abduction and confinement are the own family members of our brothers and sisters.Unfortunately in Japan the church has a very bad reputation, and the families who have adult members in the church become so concerned. They go to the internet and check many things. They try to figure out what to do, and in most of the cases they come in contact with the Christian ministers who oppose our church. The family members, with the feeling of grasping at straws, receive counseling from these ministers, and they fill them with one-sided wrong information and make the family members take the wrong decisions. “Your child is risking his life with his faith. Are you willing to quit your job for the sake of your child? There is only one way to get your child out of that church and that is to put them in protection to convince them.” That is the abduction and the confinement.
Whether or not they are successful in making the person leave, there is a large amount of money that is given from the parents to those people who carry out the abduction and the confinement. My parents paid the full amount, and I think they paid more than 100 thousand dollars. This is a business that is going on. There are (former) members who were convinced to leave, and there are lawyers who are working with these ministers who are opposed to our church, leftist lawyers. These leftist lawyers convince the former members to sue the church and they take the church to court and all that money goes to the lawyer.
It is very clear how these ministers and lawyers are operating. They’re very good at criticizing the UC. They would use a very small situation and make the UC look like the embodiment of evil. Even now this is going on across the country. The government officials know what is going on but they’re refusing to do anything about stopping these crimes of abduction and confinement. Opposing ministers, leftist lawyers and the mass media are all involved in this, and right now in Japan it is extremely difficult to solve this problem, and we can’t do anything about it. Right now five members are being confined, but we cannot do anything about it.
In this kind of situation, after I was released, there were many things that surprised me. First, I got on the train for the first time in a long time, and I saw everyone sitting down with some kind of device in their hands and they were using them with their thumbs. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing with their thumbs. Now I use one of those, too. I was very surprised by that in the beginning.
Another thing that surprised me was that we have True Children here with us today. I was really wonderfully and amazingly surprised to see what wonderful work the True Children are doing. We put so much faith in them now, they are wonderful. In Japan we have no way of dealing with this confinement and abduction. In Japan we have a very urgent providential responsibility but there is no way to deal with this. There are sisters here now in Korea who experienced the confinement but they have no one to talk to and share their experiences. So the people who have had this kind of experience have no place to go for counselling or talking, always keeping these experiences in themselves, always living in fear that they may be abducted again.”Maybe today I will be abducted again!”
This is a democratic country, but that is the situation they’re dealing with until now. But now the True Children are standing in the forefront and they’re dealing with this issue, not just in Japan, but also in Korea and in America, and we’re hand in hand now, in order to resolve this problem in Japan. We cannot allow the violation of the human rights of our members to continue. The fact that they are standing up like this is so wonderful. So as a representative of people who went through the confinement experience, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. God and True Parents are giving us this providence, I’m truly so grateful. As one person who has been a victim of that confinement, I want to fight with you to resolve this problem. That is my determination. Thank you very much.
Hyung Jin Nim:
Brothers and sisters, once again Goto san, let us give it up for him one more time.
Altar Call Prayer by Hyung Jin Nim:
Dearest most beloved Heavenly Father, thank you so much Father for allowing us to hear the story, the ordeals, the suffering but also Father the incredible victory of our Unification brothers and sisters. Heavenly Father we want to uplift our brothers and sisters today. We want to acknowledge and remember those that have gone through this incredible type of persecution. Father we want to understand how precious our faith is and Father that even those who followed and served Jesus or any of the prophets were slandered, many stoned and even murdered.
As Unificationists we walk the path of serving the returning Lord. Father let us remain proud of our faith. Let us know that it is our democratic right and Father it is our human right to have our faith and to practice our faith in freedom. Father we want to pray for those brothers and sisters who are here with us today and have encountered such things. We pray that their hearts may be consoled and those traumatic events Father may be used in their spiritual lives to inspire others, to raise others and also to fight for the freedom of our Unificationists today and forever.
We thank you so much that our brother Goto san is standing on the front line to reveal the truth that Unificationist members have been persecuted to the degree that our human rights have been rejected and stolen. Father we want this to be a testament. Father how much, how important and valuable is the faith in True Parents that you have sent to this earth! Father, thank you so much for Goto san’s message. We pray that we may learn from it, that we may meditate on it and that we may stand up together with him and other brothers and sisters in this room and around the world that have encountered such things. That we may truly stand up for our religious rights.
Thank you so much today. Bless the work that he does. We will do our best to bring this to closure and to bring, Father, restoration to these people’s lives. Members, brothers and sisters, we thank you so much and we honor him (Mr. Goto) as he has lived a life in service to you and of love even to those that persecuted and confined him and tortured him. He continues to harbor no ill feelings and continues to love them to this day. Father we thank you so much that you have sent such saints to the world to teach us and guide us. To show us what is faith and what is love for God and True Parents. Thank you so much. We want to honor him today. In our names we pray. In True Parents name we pray. Aju!
Brothers and Sisters one more time let us give it up for Goto san. We want to honor him and give him our appreciation with these flowers from all the brothers and sisters all over the world. We will stand with you until the day we can practice our faith with freedom in Japan.