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Intervention of Dr. Katsumi Otsuka at the Think Tank 2022 Forum

Thank you very much, Madame Chairwoman, for giving me this opportunity to speak in this precious session about the issue of religious freedom and human rights in Japan. Let me first salute all the investment that the organizer put into this session. It is also my great pleasure to be together with well-known experts on human rights and religious freedom.

Since many distinguished experts have already spoken a lot about the current terrible situation in Japan, I do not want to repeat this again. Instead, let me introduce you to one human rights protector and religious freedom defender in a local city of Japan.

His name is Norio Hosoya, a city council member of the Toride-city congress, Ibaraki prefecture. Of course, he is not a member of the former Unification Church, but he stood up alone for protecting human rights and religious freedom in Japan.

He recently published a book on the former Unification Church and Japanese Constitution titled Constitution and the former Unification Church.” This book was published on January 26th of this year. I was very impressed by this book, so I thought that introducing this book would help you to better understand the situation in Japan.

Let me quote a little from his book. Hosoya wrote as follows as an introduction to the book. (Let me quote!)

"The vortex of criticism against the former Unification Church (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification) that erupted from the attack on Shinzo Abe is flooding all over Japan. The voices of believers who are judged to be anti-social have been rejected and the voices of the 2nd generation were eliminated and drowned out! Where are their human rights? This book is a record of the struggles in a local city with a population of 100,000 which seeks to have a fair and neutral administration, thoroughly relying on the Constitution of Japan."

He also wrote in the introduction. Let me quote….

“It is reported now that the root of all evil is the former Unification Church, and there has been a loud chorus of call for politicians to clarify as to whether they had any contact with this organization, whether they attended gatherings, whether they sent messages, and so on. The Liberal Democratic Party, of which many members of the Diet are linked to the Unification Church, conducted an internal investigation into all members of parliament who belong to the party, and Secretary-General Motegi spokes as follows with emphasis after the investigation,

"We will not have any relationship with the former Unification Church from now on. I am convinced that there are no lawmakers who cannot follow the party's decision, but if they are, they cannot work in the same party.”

The Liberal Democratic Party’s remarks and investigations have begun to exert influence over local political circles.....

What criteria should we use in making decisions when information is one-sided? The government must be neutral to everyone. .... So, I decided to look at the situation based on the Constitution. Then, I found that it was not the "former Unification Church" that violated the Constitution, but that the tone of the criticism against the Unification Church is violating the Constitution.”

(Quote end)

He made a very concrete action for protecting religious freedom! Let me quote.

“In Toride City, a member of the communist party proposed a resolution to eliminate its ties with the Unification Church, but he (Mr. Hosoya) argued against the resolution based on the Constitution and strongly countered that the request itself was a violation of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of thought and belief. He strongly objected to the resolution on that point, and the resolution request was rejected by an overwhelming majority.”

I thank you for your attention.

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