Fr. Takashi Motoyanagi(Diocesan Priest)
Catholic Church of Kaitsuka (Yokohama diocese, Japan)
On May 27, when many Filipinos were preparing for the celebration of the last feast of Our Lady in the Catholic Church of Kaitsuka (Yokohama diocese, Japan) about 7 police entered the ground of the Church to investigate Filipinos gathered there for mass at 12:30 noon. Although they had not any search warrant they arrested people there, on the spot. At that time many Filipino children were getting ready to participate in the special religious event there. The parish priest was working in the parish office.
When the Christians realized what was going on addressed the police investigators telling them that it was not allowed to investigate people inside the Church ground. Although they were on duty, it was found out that they were neither holding a search warrant nor an order arrest. The police said that the church was not extraterritorial and that they had the power to investigate and arrest people as they wished, because they knew exactly that a certain Filipino person, without proper visa, was coming to Sunday mass.
The parish priest informed the police that by entering the grounds of the church to conduct investigations of people the police was violating religious activities and infringing religious freedom. Therefore they must go out. One of the investigators strongly told the priest that he should advice the Filipino without proper visa to go out of the church, but if the priest refuses to do that he will be considered guilty by protecting a suspected criminal.
In spite of that, the police proceeded with their investigations advancing coercively against a Filipino person, while the priest, several Filipino women and the president of the Committee of the Church made strong protests. The investigators acted strongly against them also, warning them that if they continued interfering with the investigations they could be also arrested for obstructing the public function of the police. All that continued for over half an hour and at the end they arrested a Filipino person and brought him out to the police station. Many witnessed them.
The incident happened at Kaitsuka Catholic Church in the City of Kawasaki. If you are interested in more details, please contact Fr. Takashi Motoyanagi, the parish priest there. Here you have his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org