There were few reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief or practice.
In October 2010 a vehicle parked in front of a mosque in Fukui Prefecture with a sign reading “Foreign People Get Out” was set on fire. Leaders at the mosque, attended primarily by foreign university students living in Fukui, portrayed the incident as isolated and unusual and said they had positive relations with the local community. Police arrested an individual for this incident late in the year.
For several years deprogrammers working with family members have reportedly abducted Unification Church members and members of other minority religious groups. The number of reported cases has declined sharply since the 1990s, but research published in December by the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Without Frontiers International maintained that abductions and deprogramming of Unification Church members continue to occur. Other NGOs, however, accused the Unification Church of exaggerating or fabricating these reports. The Unification Church reported two cases in which church members were abducted during the year as well as three cases of suspected abductions. According to the church, one abductee escaped after five months of confinement and the other was released after three weeks; the three individuals whom church officials suspect were abducted all withdrew from the church. Two other members who reportedly remained confined at the end of 2010 withdrew from the church. The Unification Church also asserted that cult prevention workshops and campaigns held at universities throughout the country urged students to avoid groups affiliated with the church and contributed to a hostile campus environment for Unificationist students.
While Japanese society has been largely supportive of the right of Falun Gong practitioners to practice freely, there were reports that the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo carried out an active campaign to harass and undermine the organization by trying to persuade Japanese organizations to discriminate against Falun Gong practitioners. Some of the country’s top facilities have refused to host Shen Yun Performing Arts, a New York-based performance group associated with the Falun Gong, but other smaller theaters have hosted the group. Other Falun Gong-affiliated performers have performed at large facilities. Likewise, while some Japanese companies have given in to Chinese pressure and not advertised in the Epoch Times, others have continued to advertise in the publication.
Significant interfaith efforts continued during the year. The Japanese Association of Religious Organizations, an interfaith NGO, worked to promote religious culture and interfaith harmony. Members from the Islamic Center Japan spoke at churches and participated in interfaith peace prayers with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist groups. The World Conference on Religions for Peace Japanese Committee, composed of various religious groups, hosted interfaith symposiums during the year and participated in relief efforts led by many religious organizations in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.