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'No repeat' of Church arrest: archbishop

Police must show restraint after Pentecost Sunday incident, he says

Archbishop Jun Ikenaga, right, submits letter to NPSC chairman Jin Matsubara during a meeting on Monday Archbishop Jun Ikenaga, right, submits letter to NPSC chairman Jin Matsubara during a meeting on Monday
  • ucanews.com correspondent, Tokyo
  • Japan
  • July 4, 2012
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The president of the Catholic bishops’ conference has sought guarantees police will not violate freedom of religion during a meeting with the National Public Safety Commission (NPSC), following an arrest at a Catholic Church in Kawasaki City on Pentecost Sunday.

In a meeting with the NPSC chairman Jin Matsubara on Monday, Archbishop Jun Ikenaga of Osaka, submitted a letter requesting an explanation on how police are ordered to act in relation to freedom of religion throughout Japan.

The meeting follows an incident on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, in which police officers entered the Kaizuka Catholic Church without notice or warrant and arrested a Filipino layman for not carrying a passport. Archbishop Ikenaga described the police actions as an “unthinkable incident.”

His letter to the NPSC called for the police not to interfere in Church activities, illegally enter Church grounds and to refrain from conducting investigations against those visiting churches or near church grounds.

Matsubara did not say whether he would give a written response.

“I think the action violated common sense,” he said. “We will ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident.”

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