Children in religious families forced to partake in religious events

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Children of Unification Church followers speak at a press conference in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 23.

More than 80% of children in religious families said they were forced to participate in religious events, with many compelled to do so when they were in elementary school, according to a survey by social research organization Chiki-lab.

1,131 people, mainly children and grandchildren of religious followers, responded to the online survey conducted in September.

In the survey, 34% of the respondents said they experienced restrictions on romance and companionship due to religious beliefs, while 24% of them had restrictions on schoolwork and employment. Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they suffered corporal punishment. The survey results also show women were more likely to be forced even as they became older.

One respondent said, “As I didn’t read the sutras, I was locked in a room without an air conditioner or fan in the summer.” Another said: “As I didn’t listen to my parents, they poured water over me in the middle of winter and didn’t provide me with meals. I was living in fear, trying not to be physically punished.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun