The following story is reprinted courtesy of Segye Ilbo, a Korean daily
newspaper supported by members of the Unification Church. It appeared Feb. 17,
Is Love Not Allowed, If You Believe in Different Religions? (Kwangju, South Korea) A husband and wife, who have nurtured their love, going beyond the borders of Korea and Japan, are in tears, unable to see each other due to opposition from the wife┼fs parents in Japan. The husband is Mr. Jang Hee Lee (39) and the wife, Ms. A. (38). Mr. Lee met Ms. A. in the Unification Church in 2008, and they took part in the Marriage Blessing in October, 2009.
However, a barrier other than the national border lay between them, preventing their love to bear fruit. In December of 2010, Ms. A. left Korea for Japan, hoping to ask her parents┼f blessing on their marriage. Soon after, Mr. Lee lost touch with her.
After arriving in Japan, Ms. A. gave Mr. Lee a call to say she was now at her parents┼f home, but that was the last he heard from her.
Ms. A.┼fs parents, who opposed her marriage with Mr. Lee for religious reasons, had confined their daughter in order to separate them. In Japan, it is reported that in the 45 years since 1966, more than 4300 members of the Unification Church have been kidnapped and confined because the religion they believe in is different.
After losing contact with his wife, who had originally planned to visit her parents for a week, Mr. Lee went to Japan at the end of December of 2010, and reported to the Korean Consulate in Japan and the Japanese police, that his wife was missing.
However, the Consulate side said that a complaint had to be filed with the police, in order for them to be able to take any action, and the police stated that as the couple had not registered their marriage, the police could not accept a complaint unless her parents filed for one.
Mr. Lee visited Ms. A.┼fs parents and relatives, pleading with them to be able to see her, but no one responded. In his despair, after returning to Korea, Mr. Lee requested the assistance of the Japanese Embassy in Korea and other leads. The Embassy of Japan in Korea only repeated, that as Ms. A. returned to Japan on her own will and then had gone missing, there was nothing they could do.
Mr. Lee, who had been dreaming of starting married life, is now in a state of shock at losing contact with his dear wife. He is extremely discouraged, saying, ┼gI lost my father at an early age, and I wished to take care of not only Ms. A., but her parents as well like my own parents┼cnow that I cannot see her, or even hear her voice, I don┼ft know what to do.┼h
- End of Report by Ryu Song Choon for Segye Ilbo
Korea's Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) reported in a one-hour documentary on Oct. 6, 2010, that to this day, many Japanese wives of Korean Unificationists are unable to visit their parents' homes due to concerns and fear of a second or third abduction. A considerable number of them show signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
There are about 7,000 Unificationist Japanese wives currently residing in Korea, of which 300 of them claim to be victims of kidnapping and confinement. It is expected that there is a larger number of unaccounted victims, SBS reported.
According to the International Coalition on Religious Freedom (ICRF), a nonprofit based organization in Maryland, during the past 43 years, an estimated 4,300 follow-ers of the Unification Church (UC) have been sub-jected to this or simi-lar criminal practices. Scores of Jehovah┼fs Witnesses have also been victimized. More than 1,300 members of the UC have returned to their religious communities recounting tales of kidnapping, forced confinement, beatings, food deprivation, harassment, rape and other heinous and humiliating acts in an attempt to convince or force them to renounce their faith. Japanese police have refused to investigate cases in which adult UC members have been kidnapped, on the grounds that it is a ┼gfamily matter.┼h Japanese prosecutors have declined to press charges for similar reasons. Japanese courts and authorities have failed to provide redress in numerous cases.
Contributed by Douglas Burton