By Barrier Free Japan
January 16 2023
KOBE – In the morning of Sunday 15th 2023, around 10AM, the doorbell of our apartment rang. This was unusual as the only people who usually ring the doorbell to our apartment are people delivering letters and parcels, and there are rarely such deliveries on a Sunday in Japan.
My wife answered the doorbell, we have one of those ‘intercom devices’ (I must be showing my age with the term ‘intercom’), she speaks to the person outside. It is a Jehovah’s Witness.
It took her a few minutes to turn the Jehovah’s Witness away, apparently saying you’re just not interested in becoming a Jehovah’s Witness is not enough to make them go away, but on this occasion, saying one is a Buddhist, apparently did the trick.
It would be funny, if I wasn’t approached by Jehovah’s Witnesses both at home and in the street here in Japan so often.
Sometimes, telling them you’re not interested is not enough, in my experience at least.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan have often seemingly thought nothing of grabbing my arm, the side not affected by cerebral palsy, whilst they sell their religious wares, and I clearly have a physical disability as I use a walking stick. The person must be aware that by grabbing me in that fashion, they are causing me a great deal of pain.
Ultimately I can move away, but in the past, pre-pandemic, I have been present as a Jehovah’s Witness seemed to try to recruit people with intellectual disabilities.
In November 2022, The Mainichi Shimbun reported a story about “[a] woman in Japan who was raised as a third-generation Jehovah’s Witness opened up about her past, including abuse from her parents. ”
The Mainichi Shimbun reported that the Tokyo resident in her 30s commented, “I want action to be taken so parents do not force religion onto their children, and children are not robbed of learning opportunities.”
In response to the story from The Mainichi Shimbun, a public relations representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses stated: “We teach followers to raise their children with love, based on the teachings of the Bible. The method should be decided by each family, but it’s regretful if any parents abused their children. We do not force teachings onto members.”
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