What’s going to be built?” and neighbors voice their concerns… Disturbing use of “1,900 tsubo” bought by the former Unification Church. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

What’s going to be built?” and neighbors voice their concerns… Disturbing use of “1,900 tsubo” bought by the former Unification Church.

Adjacent to Kokushikan University and a Tokyo Metropolitan High School, there is also a signboard in the vicinity that reads "Beware of Cults. ......

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At the entrance to Kokushikan University’s Tama Campus, adjacent to the land purchased by the Unification Church, a signboard reads, “Beware of Cult Religious Solicitation

Nagayama, Tama City, Tokyo. In March of this year, the name “Unification Church” suddenly surfaced in this town surrounded by greenery and rich in nature that attracts many hikers. It all started when the Tama City Council approved the acquisition of land by the Unification Church (now known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification) at a city council meeting. A check of the land registry revealed that the church had purchased approximately 1,900 tsubo (6,300 m2) of land owned by a confectionery wholesale company in April 2010.

Across the road is Nagayama Metropolitan High School, and right next to it are educational institutions such as Kokushikan University’s Tama Campus, and about a five-minute walk away is a residential area. The cult has caused major problems with its concealed recruiting methods, psychic sales, and high donations, and the Kokushikan Educational Corporation is “deeply concerned about any unfavorable impact on the educational environment of our school,” and the Tokyo Metropolitan Nagayama High School has issued a statement saying, “We will strive to manage the school with the safety and security of our students as our top priority. The Tokyo Metropolitan Nagayama High School announced a statement saying, “We will strive to manage the school with the safety and security of our students as our top priority.

The sudden land acquisition drama continues to unnerve nearby residents even now that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has requested an order to dissolve the school.

As they were anxious about how the land would be used, it was also revealed in June of this year that the cult had communicated to the city the construction of a training facility. It is creepy that a base for a cult that is even discussing a dissolution order is going to be built in the neighborhood,” said a neighborhood resident.

According to the church’s plan, demolition of the confectionery wholesaler’s former headquarters plant will begin in July of this year and is scheduled to be completed in January of next year. Tama City Mayor Hiroyuki Abe is strongly urging the cult to return the facility development to the drawing board.

The group claims that “the city has no legal authority to restrict the land use plan.” It is expected to take some time before the court issues a dissolution order. There is a great possibility that before the dissolution order is issued, they will force the construction of the facility and sell or transfer it to an affiliated organization that supports the cult. After that, they could continue to use the facility as a base for their underwater activities, even though they have been stripped of their religious juridical personality” (reporter from the society section of a national newspaper).

When we asked the religious organization about the use of the land, the possibility of selling it, and the concerns of nearby residents, they responded as follows.

We are planning to build a training center that can accommodate about 400 people. It will be used for believers to learn the doctrines of the faith. There are no plans to sell the property at this time. We are planning to hold a briefing session for local residents.

Mizuho Shimizu, a spokesperson for the Tama Citizens’ Liaison Group for “No to the Unification Church,” a citizens’ group that is calling for the church to cancel or withdraw its construction plans, said, “We will request a dissolution order on October 13.

Mizuho Shimizu, a spokesperson for the Tama Citizens’ Network, a citizens’ group calling for the cancellation and withdrawal of the Unification Church’s construction plan, said, “The fact that a request for a dissolution order was filed on October 13 is good in itself, but that is not a solution. This is just the beginning. From now on, we hope that the court will issue the dissolution order as soon as possible, and at the same time, we also hope that the law for the preservation of the property will be quickly enacted. I think the church should give up its plans to build on this land, and the funds should be used to help the victims.”

Shouldn’t the Unification Church take the voices of these residents seriously?

Han Hurko, president of the Unification Church. In response to the request for a dissolution order, the church fiercely opposes the order, saying that it is tantamount to a death sentence for a religious organization.

From the November 3, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

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  • Interview and text by Hironori Jinno (nonfiction writer) PHOTO Shun Kirishima (1st photo) Jiji Press (Han Huruko)

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