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Unification Church ‘asked man not to speak to media’

Jiji Press
Tatsuo Hashida speaks at a press conference in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday.

A senior Unification Church member unexpectedly visited the home of a follower’s former husband in Kochi Prefecture and asked him not to talk to the media, the man said at a press conference this week in Tokyo.

Tatsuo Hashida, 64, said Tuesday that his family was destroyed as a result of large donations his former wife made to the religious group, officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Hashida sent a letter of protest to the federation on the same day, saying, “This was an attempt to suppress free speech, and society must never accept that.”

Hashida said in the letter that he was informed on Saturday that Hideyuki Teshigawara, director general of the newly established head office for promoting reform in the group, wanted to meet him. Hashida declined, but Teshigawara went to Hashida’s house on Sunday and asked him to “talk one-on-one” and “stop appearing in the media,” according to the letter.

At Tuesday’s press conference Hashida said, “It was outrageous for him to come to see me even though I had declined.”

Hashida’s lawyer Katsuomi Abe criticized the group for trying to prevent a victim from speaking out.

The church admitted that Teshigawara had visited Hashida’s home. “We thought there had been a request from Mr. Hashida, so we visited his house. We apologize for going there in person,” it said.