2013: Law for Foreign Residents in Japan

Migranten - Minderheiten - Flüchtlinge - Asylbewerber
in Ostasien und in Japan
NCCJ, 2013-04-05

National Christian Conference for Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents Holds National Conference and Assembly

On January 24 – 25, the 27th nationwide gathering of the “National Christian Conference for Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents (Gaikikyo)” was held at the United Church of Christ’s (Kyodan) Tohoku District Center in the northeastern city of Sendai. With the theme of “Considering ‘Multiracial/Multicultural Coexistence’ from the Tohoku Disaster Area,” 40 representatives participated from the regional network (Gaikiren) of Hokkaidō, Kantō, Kanagawa, Kansai, Hiroshima and Kyūshū, from seven denominations and organizations as well as from NCC Korea.

Prior to the opening of the conference, participants boarded a minibus to visit the cities of Minami Sanriku and Ishi-no-maki, which were heavily impacted by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. The visit was led by members of the Non-Japanese Disaster Victim Relief Center.

On the evening of the 24th, Reverend Masaji AKIBA, director of Gaikikyo, opened the conference with a prayer after which Nobuyuki SATŌ, director of Research-Action Institute for the Koreans in Japan (RAIK), presented a summary report.  Third-generation Korean-Japanese and sociologist Kihwan KWAK, an associate professor at Tōhoku Gakuin University, then spoke on “Non-Japanese Disaster Survivors as Seen through a Survey in the City of Ishi-no-maki,” which was followed by a lively Q & A session.

The second day of the conference, January 25th, started out with a Bible study led by Rev. Jun NAKAIE (Church of Christ in Japan). Rev. Nakaie spoke in detail about his undertaking of re-reading the Bible during his two years of relief work. Afterward, Ms. Keiko MAEDA, disaster coordinator for YWCA of Japan, and Rev. Baekki HEO of Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) reported on “Future Issues in Assistance for Non-Japanese Disaster Survivors.” During the lunch period, an area was set aside for conference participants from local denominations and churches to speak informally. In the afternoon, after a workshop entitled “Reading the Basic Law for Foreign Residents while in the Disaster Region,” two church youth reported on the Japan/KCCJ “Trip for Youth” that took place last August. Later on, the entire conference planned out activities and other events for fiscal 2013.  At the closing service, Rev. Hanae IGATA, who has been struggling at a church in the devastated region, offered a message entitled “Sown seeds, sewing seeds.”

Then on January 26th, the “27th National Christian Assembly for the Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents“ was held at the Sendai Christian Church (Japan Baptist Convention) under the theme of “Praying for Multiracial/Multicultural Coexistence while in the Tohoku Disaster Area.” Forty-six participants, including those from Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, traveled through heavy snowfall to join the assembly. Rev. Kanō YOSHITAKA, NCCJ vice moderator, served as emcee as hymns were sung, prayers offered and a message of solidarity was presented by The National Council of Churches in Korea. Two migrant women, Marlene SHŌJI of Philippine Community Miyagi and Peichi YANG of Non-Japanese Disaster Victim Relief Center, spoke of their time in Japan and harsh experiences since the March 11th disaster. After hearing their stories, Bishop Gorō MATSUURA of the Catholic Commission of Japan for Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move gave a message on Samuel 3:1-11 entitled “Responding to God Who Calls You by Name.”

Following this message, Sunhee LEE, a GCOE Fellow at Tohoku University’s School of Law who has been researching about migrant women since before the disaster, spoke in detail about current conditions and issues in a talk entitled, “Tohoku’s Migrant Women.” The final activity of the day was to look over the assembly’s appeal. As the snow continued, participants returned to their churches carrying with them the topic of “multiracial, multicultural coexistence.”

Appeal - National Christian Conference for Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents

Message from Korea