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Cyclist To Pedal Across America To Raise Awareness of Japan’s Deprogramming Scandal PDF Print E-mail

Atlanta resident Seijin Tranberg: "dream big."

Seijin Tranberg, a second-generation Unificationist, will pedal for social justice this winter in what he calls a “Tour De Cause” bicycle challenge aimed at bringing attention to the issue of faith-breaking in Japan. The tour will begin from his hometown in Atlanta, Georgia on December 15, 2011 and will end in Los Angeles in January 2012.

A 22-year-old college junior in political science and international relations, Tranberg is the student body president at Georgia Gwinnett College. “The student body is about 8,000 students, and I help out with funding for all the student organizations on campus,” he said. “I like to consistently challenge myself to become a better person as a way to inspire others to do the same. I love dreaming big, and doing everything in my power to make them a reality. When I grow up, I'd like to think that I'm going to help save the world.”

Tranberg also keeps in touch with representatives of CARP (the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles) around the United States. “Georgia Gwinnett doesn't have a CARP chapter on campus, but I try to live up to CARP’s ideals. My sister and I are the only Unificationists on campus, so we’re the only ones aware of the mission and vision of what CARP is. But we advocate for CARP’s ideals of internal and external excellence, creating a generation of peace, and using yourself and your time in college for the greater good. I feel that my bike trip is something that exemplifies the CARP vision.”

Religious Abductions Continue Unabated in Japan PDF Print E-mail

Police reportedly turn a blind eye to persecution. and prosecutors refuse to hold those responsible accountable.


Oct. 28 -- Abductions, secret confinements and forced conversions of believers in minority religions continue to go unpunished in Japan, as yet another apparent victim has renounced her former faith after months in captivity, according to reports.

“Police [in Japan] turn a blind eye to this blatant violation of human rights, and prosecutors refuse to hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Luke Higuchi, a survivor of three months’ confinement who kept his faith in the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Higuchi (pictured left), now serves as president of the U.S.-based Survivors Against Forced Exit (SAFE) a support group for victims of attempted forced conversion.
“Last week we received a letter from Ms. ‘N.M.,’ who disappeared in July,” Higuchi said. “Sadly, she writes that she has renounced her faith. However, she also confirms that her life in the church was a happy one.”

Ms. “T.T.” also sent a letter of renunciation recently after going missing for several weeks, Higuchi reported. “However, we have not been able to communicate directly with either Ms. T.T. or Ms. N.M. In some cases, victims send renunciation letters in order to reduce security precautions to prevent their escape to freedom. So we cannot say for sure what their true state of mind is.”

 Another apparent victim, Mr. ‘K.M.’, remains missing. He has not been seen either by church members or supervisors at his place of employment since September 5. His fiancé, who lives in Hungary and is a fellow member of the church, has also been unable to contact him.

About ICRF

The International Coalition for Religious Freedom is a non-profit, non-sectarian, educational organization dedicated to defending the religious freedom of all, regardless of creed, gender or ethnic origin. ICRF acknowledges with gratitude that, at the current time, it receives the bulk of its funding from institutions and individuals related to the Unification Church community. Contributions to ICRF are tax-exempt under section 501-c-3 of the Internal Revenue Code of the USA.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which operates as an authoritative guide in the field of human rights. The ICRF seeks to promote the vision of religious freedom found in Article 18 of the Declaration:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, alone or in community with others, and, in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.


Goto Case Seen As Test of Japan's Commitment to Religious Freedom PDF Print E-mail
'Deprogramming' victim tells Tokyo court that captors confined him for 12 years  

but could not break his faith in the Unification Church and Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Goto in hospitalOct. 10--The International Coalition for Religious Freedom today released the translated Tokyo court statement of Toru Goto, the Japanese man whose relatives allegedly held him against his will  for 12 years in an attempt to break his faith in the Unification Church.

Mr. Goto is suing several family members and two “deprogrammers,” Takashi Miyamura and Yasutomo Matsunaga, for false imprisonment. His case is viewed by human rights activists as a test of Japan’s commitment to freedom of religion and belief. The U.S. State Department cited the case in its current International Religious Freedom Report:

“It was September 11, 1995 at my parents’ home in Tokyo when I was suddenly surrounded and pushed into a van, which drove me to an apartment arranged for the confinement,” Mr. Goto stated. He was 31 years old at the time.

He says he spent the next 12 years and five months in several apartment-prisons in the Tokyo area. Prevented even from going outdoors for a walk, when he finally gained his freedom his muscles had atrophied, and he had to be hospitalized for three weeks for severe malnutrition.

“So-called ‘deprogramming’ is a kind of spiritual rape involving kidnapping, false imprisonment, and a fundamental abuse of the human right to religious freedom,” Mr. Goto told the annual conference of the Center for Studies on New Religions [] this year in Taipei. “I was forced to receive daily doses of abusive language against the church and its founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Anytime I refuted them, they called me ‘Idiot! Stupid! Evil!’ and so on. My mental pain was beyond description and I felt like dying.”


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