By Japanese Falun Gong practitioners

On the afternoon of December 4, 2002 between 3pm to 4pm, the Yoko Kaneko Rescue Committee held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. Yoko Kaneko's husband Kaneko Atusi and Australian practitioner Dai Zhizhen were present at press conference to speak and ask for Yoko's release. It was first press conference for Falun Gong practitioners at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. Major news agencies including the AP, AFP, Japan Times and Epochtimes attended the press conference.

Press Conference
Australian practitioner Dai Zhizhen with her daughter Japanese Falun Gong practitioners talking about the persecution After the press conference, reporters interview the speakers

At the press conference, Kaneko Atusi told the reporters about how his wife Yoko, 38, was arrested on May 24 along with two Japanese practitioners while passing out fliers to passersby in Beijing. While the two Japanese practitioners were deported to Japan, Yoko, who has permanent residency in Japan, was sentenced on June 24 to 18 months of reeducation through labor. Now she is detained in the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp.

Kaneko said that through the efforts of the Japanese government and people from all walks of life, he was finally allowed to visit Yoko at the forced labor camp on August 15. He confirmed that she looked like she had lost about 10 kilograms in weight and appeared to be very weak, but more alarmingly she seemed to have changed mentally and had large bruises around her wrists, indicating she may have been tortured or ill-treated in the camp. The once high-spirited Yoko had an unusually sullen expression. He said that he was not allowed to speak to her directly in Japanese but only through a Chinese interpreter. There were eight uniformed Chinese guards in the room, four sitting down facing him and four standing up facing her. The authorities also restricted the topics they were able to discuss.

In October Yoko's sister told Atusi that Yoko's health was deteriorating and she had to be hospitalized. Mr. Kaneko was very worried about the danger to her life. It was this concern that caused him to publicly ask for help in securing her release.

Mr. Msushi Kaneka, a Japanese citizen, talked about the situation of his 5 family members (mother, sister, sister-in-law and two brothers) in China. They were detained, sentenced to jail or forced to leave their home. He called upon everyone to help stop the persecution.

Australian citizen Dai Zhizhen also made a special trip to Japan for this rescue effort. She talked about how the Jiang regime's persecution affected her family. Her husband was beaten to death because he practiced Falun Gong. His sister was sentenced to forced labor camp just because she disclosed the news of her brother's death. Dai's father-in-law was so traumatized after this series of events that he passed away. In a short time, a harmonious family was tragically torn apart. From deep within her heart she appealed to the Japanese government and media to try their best to rescue Yoko, so that she could reunite with her family in Japan. She said, "My husband was killed just because he said 'Falun Dafa is Good', I will continue to say what he wanted to say: Falun Dafa is good."

Ms. Xiao, a representative of the Yoko Kaneko Rescue Committee and part of the global effort to rescue Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned in China, talked about her experience in a Chinese detention center. She was detained in China when she went to appeal for Falun Gong, and she experienced and witnessed the tortures being used there. Because she was a student in Japan, she was allowed to return, but she remains extremely worried about the situation of the practitioners still imprisoned in China.

While answering questions from the reporter, Australian practitioner Ruby Wong gave a brief introduction of Falun Gong. She pointed out that Jiang is responsible for starting the persecution, and as long as the persecution is happening, Falun Gong practitioners will continue their peaceful appeal.

Other practitioners gave an overview of human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners in Japan, such as refusing to issue or renew passports, and refusing entry to China. He pointed out that belief is not a crime and demanded China to stop the violation of Falun Gong practitioners' basic human rights at once.

The press conference lasted more than 20 minutes. After the press conference many reporters stayed to chat with and interview the speakers.