The dispute over Jinja Honchō’s presidency continues. I am writing an update because the first court has issued its decision on the case launched by Revd Ashihara against Jinja Honchō asking the court to confirm that he was the president. (Click on the tag to get links to earlier posts, as there is a lot of background to this case. I will refer to the parties in this case as Revd Ashihara and Jinja Honchō because my understanding is that that is the legal situation — even though the dispute is over who represents Jinja Honchō.) This is, as usual, based on an article in Jinja Shinpō, in this case in the January 16th issue.
Jinja Honchō won, comprehensively. The court ruled that consideration of the language found in other parts of Jinja Honchō’s regulations showed that the disputed regulation should be interpreted as meaning that the board of directors had to select the next president by majority vote, and that the chairman then had to nominate that person as president.
Jinja Honchō was, naturally, pleased about that. They held a press conference at which they said it was a superb decision, and that all the problems over the presidency should now be solved. They also said that the actions of Revd Ashihara had brought chaos to Jinja Honchō, and that they would look into ensuring that he took responsibility for them.
Revd Ashihara’s supporters were not happy. They held a meeting to discuss the decision at one of the important jinja in Tokyo, made it clear that they disagreed with the decision, and announced that they would appeal. Their argument was that the regulations made it clear that the chairman was not purely ceremonial, and that the court’s decision was therefore in error. They also criticised the arbitrary and opaque actions that Jinja Honchō had been taking under the current leadership.
They have already appealed to the high court, so this problem will not be solved at least until the appeal has been heard.
Of course, the real problem is not the interpretation of the regulations. The real problem is the split within Jinja Honchō, and the report does not suggest that either side was taking advantage of the court decision to launch an attempt at reconciliation.
I hope that there are people working behind the scenes to bring the sides together and find a constructive way forward. I know there are people working behind the scenes to support jinja and improve their situation in general. But these are certainly interesting times to be working with Jinja Honchō.