Police accuse cult-linked personal seal retailer of manipulative sales techniques

The Mainichi Daily News, Japan/June 20, 2009

Tokyo police have sent an investigation report to prosecutors, accusing a personal seal and nameplate retailer allegedly linked to the Unification Church of pressuring people into buying seals using manipulative sales techniques, police said.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) accuses Shinsei, based in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, of violating the Specified Commercial Transactions Law.

Investigators suspect that Unification Church, officially known as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, siphoned off a large portion of the company's profits. However, the Unification Church denies any affiliation with Shinsei.

Naoki Tanaka, 51, president of Shinsei, sales manager Junichiro Furusawa, 40, and five saleswomen are under arrest for selling 13 seals to five women for a combined 4.16 million yen, by telling them that bad things would happen to them unless they purchased personal seals.

Tanaka previously served as a high-ranking member of the southern Tokyo chapter of the cult.

He reportedly said in a message to employees, "Shinsei is a model company in Japan. It must be No. 1 in terms of both religion and business performance."

Moreover, Shinsei's internal documents confiscated by prosecutors read, "The president is the chief preacher," "Wealthy people are good people," and "There is no point in offering a helping hand to those who have no assets."

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