Resources for controverted supernatural events involving Akita
According to the EWTN website, in June 1988, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the then Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave a definitive judgement on the Akita events and messages, that they were "reliable and worthy of belief."
However, this link provides no information to substantiate this claim, and in fact the source of this information is questionable: At the end of the quote about Cardinal Ratzinger, the source is given as:
Apparitions List Archives Apparitions List (Apar-l) is an internet mailing list dedicated to sharing information of all approved apparitions by the Catholic Church, and all reputable on-going apparitions, that are not contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. and there are a number of troubling points to consider.
So this information just comes from a privately run mailing list, and not from an authoritative source.
A further disturbing point concerns Fr Teiji Yasuda’s book, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary. When it was originally translated into English, and published in 1989, the apostolic nuncio in Japan, Bishop William Aquin Carew, asked that sales be suspended, because of the text on the back cover. This was taken from an article in the October 1988 edition of the Catholic magazine, 30 DAYS, which ultimately came from a story reported by an Asian news agency. This detailed a meeting between Cardinal Ratzinger and Bishop Ito in June 1988, at which the latter handed over a dossier on Akita.
The article in 30 DAYS contained the sentence: “Ratzinger, after studying the dossier, is reported to have judged the Virgin’s messages as creditable.” But in April 1990, Bishop Carew noted of Cardinal Ratzinger that: “His Eminence did not give any judgment on the reliability or credibility of the ‘messages of the Virgin.’ According to the transcription of the meeting, he simply affirmed that ‘there are no objections to the conclusions of the pastoral letter.’ ” The back cover of the book was thus changed following the nuncio’s statement. (30 DAYS Magazine, July-August 1990, “The Tears of Akita,” by Stefano M. Paci, pp. 42-43.)
More recently, the situation has been further clarified. It appears that the Vatican has not approved of Akita, as the following statement from the Apostolic Nuncio in Tokyo, Ambrose de Paoli, issued in 1999, makes clear. In response to a query from the editor of a British Catholic magazine, the Apostolic Nuncio stated: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has asked me to respond to your query re: Akita. ... The Holy See has never given any kind of approval to either the events or messages of Akita.” (Christian Order, December 1999, p. 610.)
As regards the wider Church, following the first commission, the Japanese bishops’ conference decided against Akita, and ordered that group pilgrimages to the shrine should cease, although they were prepared to allow individuals to visit the convent. Indeed, in 1990, the president of the conference, Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, told 30 DAYS, in what were described as terms of “unusual harshness,” that, “The events of Akita are no longer to be taken seriously. We think they do not now have a great significance for the Church and Japanese society.” (30 DAYS Magazine, July -August 1990, “The Tears of Akita,” by Stefano M. Paci, p. 45).
In addition, one of the alleged messages is quite apocalyptic in tone, and speaks of fire which will "fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity ...” At one time it was claimed that this paralleled the contents of the third part of the secret of Fatima, but that is clearly not the case.
It also states that:"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops." This type of message is more characteristic of the contents of unapproved visions than approved ones.
So all of this indicates that it seems appropriate to put Akita in the "controverted" category of apparitions.