Scandal-hit church was investigated for demanding donations

Mainichi Daily News/April 12, 2005

Kyoto -- A church whose leader stands accused of raping a young girl was investigated by Kyoto Prefectural authorities seven years ago after officials received information that it was demanding donations from people, it has been learned.

The Seishin Chuo Kyokai church reportedly denied the allegations that were brought forward at the time.

It has also denied the rape allegations against its leader, Tamotsu Kin, 61, putting aside outside criticism and doubts, and continues to operate.

Kin founded the Seishin Chuo Kyokai in Kyoto in 1986. In December 1987, the church received approval as a religious corporation from the Kyoto Prefectural Government.

Allegations about the church demanding donations were received by telephone in 1998.

In an investigation, the prefecture's educational division, which manages religious corporations, questioned one executive besides Kin. The official denied the claim, saying, "Nothing like that is happening," but the division issued instructions to the church to operate in an appropriate manner.

Afterwards, between 1999 and 2000, the church bought a restaurant that had closed and moved to its current location in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture.

A follower allegedly raped by Kin and others who were victimized brought claims against the church on Dec. 31 last year. The caregivers of the follower were also present and said to Kin, "We want an apology."

However, Kin denied allegations of rape, saying, "Have you got any evidence?" He also reportedly told those who approached him to "Go to hell."

In February this year, four executives of the church besides Kin attended a meeting of victims who protested over the group's activities. The executives denied allegations that Kin had raped a follower.

Commenting on the Kyoto Prefectural Government's investigation in 1998, a prefectural government official said, "At the time, the religious corporation replied, 'If there are any complaints, we will respond to them sincerely,' so we merely issued them instructions."

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