2011: Message of Peace – from Japan
7. August, 2011
by ISHIBASHI Hideo, Kyodan moderator and
CHOI Young Shin, Korean Christian Church in Japan moderator
The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, which resulted in the unprecedented number of nearly 20,000 dead and missing persons, has given those of us living in Japan great sorrow and pain. The tsunami that swallowed 500 kilometers (310 miles) of coastline stretching from the Tohoku region to the Kanto region has particularly shown us the fearful power of nature, which mercilessly destroyed people’s lives, and has revealed how weak we are in the midst of such tragedy. In this difficult time, we Christians in Japan who have been given an “incomprehensible hardship” search for meaning, while supporting together the many people who are suffering great pain, and try to understand and bring hope to start down the road to reconstruction. Why? Because we believe that the despairing event of “the death on the cross of God’s only Son,” made by God to be the vessel for saving all the people of the earth, was God’s plan for our incomprehensible conversion to become vessels to bring hope to the world.
We, the Kyodan and the Korean Church of Christ in Japan (KCCJ), through our respective reconstruction plans, have determined to be present with the people who are suffering, not only Christians but also all people affected by the disaster. For this reason, besides emergency support, which is already being provided, we work with people to help them return to a normal lifestyle and to give spiritual support. Along with support to help with the reconstruction of churches, we are creating mid- and long-term support plans. Jesus said: “As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:40) So we have a great interest in assisting those who are the most vulnerable in devastated areas, such as children, persons who have disabilities or are aging, and foreigners, to return to a normal life.
When necessary, within our separate support plans, both the Kyodan and the KCCJ will cooperate and assist each other in accordance with our mission agreement established in 1984.
On the other hand, this tragedy has shown people who live in Japan the mistaken road they have been walking. Because of the power of the earthquake and tsunami, which exceeded anyone’s imagination, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant released a frightening amount of dangerous radiation and continues to endanger many people. Even though Japan is the only country to suffer from nuclear weapons and should know better than any other country the danger of nuclear power, slogans such as “necessity,” “safety,” “economics”, and recently, “environmentalism” have been used to promote nuclear proliferation. Also, even aware of the continued contamination from this terrible accident, the government concealed much of the truth and raised the standard radiation contamination limit, thus creating an emergency situation and disregarding their responsibility for the health and lives of the people. Already, the slogans that have been supporting nuclear energy promotion, “necessity,” “safety,” “economics”, and “environmentalism,” have clearly been exposed as falsehood. Through this accident the government has placed the people living in eastern Japan in danger and has polluted the environment of the entire world for the pursuit of convenience and profit, and the people of this country who supported this pursuit caused this „man-made disaster“ by getting involved in something they should never have touched. We arrogant human beings have received a warning for our sin.
The Kyodan and the KCCJ sincerely wish to walk together for this cause and to pray for the following items related to this unprecedented disastrous situation:
1. Long-term support and mental health care for the victims of affected communities as well as sufficient support from the government to match the efforts of the victims;
2. Sufficient support and care for foreign victims of the disaster as well as monitoring of abuse or discrimination.
3. Absolute disclosure rather than concealment of the truth concerning radiation contamination and other facts by the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO);
4. Complete security for people in the mandatory evacuation area, emergency evacuation area, and preparedness evacuation area;
5. Explanation of the rationale for why, after the nuclear accident, the radiation contamination limit for TEPCO workers and for children was permitted to be raised and a return of the limits to appropriate numbers; and
6.. Ceasing the operation of all nuclear power plants and the removal of all reactors as well as an earnest effort to replace all nuclear power plants with renewable energy sources.
(Translated from Japanese: WJ)
From Kyodan Shinpo (Kyodan Times)