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|Dallas Incident - Updated 5-1-99|
Dallas Incident Report
We have been made aware of some rather disturbing news involving discussion of the Independent Reassessment Group (IRG) at a leader's meeting in Dallas which took place on Sunday, April 18. According to reports we received, the IRG was misrepresented and irresponsibly categorized in front of almost two hundred leaders from the Texas area. Here is what we were told. (Note: Prior to publication, we received independent confirmation of this material from three sources we know and consider to be completely credible, all of whom were present, which means they were at least chapter leaders. We also received confirmation of the substance of what we heard from an area or above level leader who was also present at the event. Since we sent this report out initially, on Friday, April 23, we have received five additional
1. During the Q&A period a member asked about the IRG and who they were. Fred Zaitsu (or James Herman) passed the question to George Kataoka, head of the organization committee. Mr. Kataoka may have just entered the room, and may not have heard the question in its entirety. As part of his response, Mr. Kataoka mentioned that the IRG thought we (SGI-USA) shouldn't be spending any time on the temple issue. He said that they (SGI-USA leadership) didn't want to demonize the IRG, but the IRG members are not really connected to the
[Note: The IRG central committee members are Laurie Chandler - part time member; Andy Hanlen - district leader in Long Beach, CA; Dana Hanlen - district leader in Long Beach; John Nicks - currently a senior member in Phoenix, formerly (among other things) Beverly Hills headquarters leader; Don Ross - Group leader in San Diego; Jay Williams - area (headquarters) leader in Long Beach. This information is known to the CEC, including Mr. Kataoka who, as head of the Organization Department, has access to the information on all appointed leaders in the SGI-USA.. None of these individuals are or have ever been Nichiren Shoshu - except when all of SGI was - or Hokkeko members, or received any funding or payment of any sort from Nichiren Shoshu or Hokkeko, or anyone else, for that matter.]
2. Mr. Kataoka stated that the IRG proposal included voting for SGI leaders, including those in other countries, but he did not expand on this.
[Note: The IRG Democratization paper does discuss voting, along with consensus methods and other means for achieving a "bottom up" organization, as President Ikeda has advised. It does not include any suggestions aimed outside of the SGI-USA, and it does not claim to have the answers, but rather asks for public discussion of these matters.]
3. Later, in Mr. Zaitsu's closing remarks he revisited the issue of the IRG. He said that they (SGI-USA) are an open-minded organization. As for democratization, they are constantly trying to find a way to combine American culture with the Gakkai spirit. He went on to say that it's important that we not be confused by the [IRG] proposal . . . which can cause loss of confidence or trust in Sensei. This is the function of the devil. The membership must not be swayed by such a group or confused by what may arise in the future. We are vulnerable both inside and out.
Nobody recorded this meeting. The people from whom we received reports related, to the best of their ability, their impressions of what they heard. For this reason we cannot verify the exact words used. What we have reported above is a compilation of the information we received. Anything which was in question or unverified, we have excluded. All of the sources related their
We have received no requests for clarification on any of these matters, particularly the allegations of temple influence, from any national leader or CEC member.
We have sent a letter to Mr. Kataoka, with copies to the other top national leaders, expressing our concern and asking for an explanation of these statements and misrepresentations. This letter was sent on Wednesday, April 21. As of this date, we have received no formal response. Mr. Kataoka has since met informally with IRG members Dana and Andy Hanlen, but has requested
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