Thursday, February 5, 2009

Japan - the Future

May 2001

Bishops express anxiety over school history books

International day 2001 at Tokyo cathedral

Tokyo cardinal president of religious organizations league

Niwano peace prize for Palestinian Melkite priests

  • Joint seminar for bishops and major superiors on "reverence for life"
  • Collaboration among catholic schools
  • Catholic film award
  • WCRP donation to Caritas Japan
  • 70th birthday of Tama Zenshoen catholic patients
  • Visit of WCRP Japan Delegates to China
  • Japan Bible Society Bibles for Itary
  • German government award for Ogata Sadako
  • Japanese lady baptized by pope during Easter Vigil
  • Carmelite Sisters' new convent in Yasuoka, Nagano
December 2000
  • Average of priests in Japan--"60" 
  • HIV-AIDS lecture meeting in Tokyo Cathedral
  •  Justice and Peace Council National Convention
  • Closing of Vatican Radio Japanese language transmission
  • Two Japanese temples and Assisi Basilica now "sisters"
  • Tokyo priests' conference on parish system 
  • Centenary of Tokyo Cathedral 
  • Nagasaki Sunday Mass attendance figures--"39.2%"  
  • Naha Eucharistic Congress
  • Dedication of Narashino Church, Tokyo
  • Restoration work on Matsugamine Church
  • Commemorative Mass for canonization of 120 Chinese Martyrs
  • Nanzan students' donation to Sierra Leone
  • "Record of Guatemala Massacres"--Japanese translation
  • First Lutheran to join Japan catholic lay mission movement blessing of Tokyo seminary new building
  • Vatican congratulatory message for WCRP anniversary
  • Relic of Saint Francis Xavier for Kanda Church, Tokyo
October 2000
  • Father Miyahara ordained bishop of Oita
  • Priests' seminar focuses on church among Taiwan indigenous people
  • Death of Takata Saburo
  • Sydney Olympic "bronze" for Ms. Nakao Miki
  • 30th anniversary of founding of WCRP
  • Dedication of Irkutsk Cathedral
  • Signature appeal in Sayama court case
  • JLMM appeal for relief in Cambodia
  • Sapporo diocese' first international day
  • Church golden jubilees : Ohmachi (Asahikawa) ; Yamato(Kanagawa) ; Akashi(Hyogo)
  • Niigata diocesan convention
  • 10th anniversary of Tokyo Justice and Peace Committee
  • Protest after HIV-AIDS report
  • Nagoya staging of "The Martyrdom of the 26"
  • Aizome vestment for the pope
  • Get-together for families of mentally handicapped

July and August 2000
  • Report on East Timor by Archbishop Ikenaga
  • Dates for International Forum on Refugees and Migrants
  • North Korea-Aid NGO Groups's Get Together in Japan Catholic Center
  • Catholic and Protestant Delegates Discuss the Pope's Apology for the Church's Sins
  •  Archbishop Shimamoto' message for the Death of Indian Bishop' Conference President
  •  Japan Church Statistics show 443,644 Catholics in 1999
  • Ten Days Prayer for Peace 2000
  • "Jubilee 2000" meeting in Okinawa
  • Tokyo International Pastoral Center 10 years old
  • Silver Jubilee of Caritas Osaka
  • National Convention of Catholic Association of the Disabled
  • Board meeting of Catholic Medical Associations
  • Annual Convention of Catholic Medical Institutes
  •  Avaco Educational award for Two Catholics
  •  "26 Martyrs Opera" for Nagoya a Hit
  • Fr. Bonet "Legal at Last" After 10 year battle against Discriminatory finger printing
  • Publication of Unfinished Endo Novel draws International attention
  • Japanese translation of "Ecclesia in Asia" published
  •  Catholic Headline News: Japan June, 2000
  • Reports from the Ordinary Plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference
  • Three Bishops retire and four Successors appointed
  • Joint Prayer meeting of Catholic and Anglican Churches
  • Common wording of “The Lord’s” prayer for Catholics and Anglicans
  • First Forum of Global Network of Religious for Children
  • National Convention of Major Superiors of Sisters
  • Caritas Sapporo Fund for Usuzan Volcano Victims
  • Yokohama diocesan get together for the abled-bodied and the disabled
  • Restoration work on Urakami fragment
  • New location for Tokyo Grand Bible exhibition
  • Final Graduation at St. Joseph’s, Yokohama
  • Golden Jubilee of Sisters disciples of the Divine master
  • Japanese Sister’s appointment to Russia
  • Endo Theological thesis
  •  National Of Catholic Women
  • Appeal for reopening of Sayama court case
  • Meeting of NCC Women’s society in St. Barnabas Church, Tokyo

 Four bishops' appointments announced for Japanese dioceses

TOKYO (CNS) -- Four new Episcopal appointments were announced for Japanese
dioceses following Pope John Paul II's acceptance of three bishops'
resignations. On June 12 the pope accepted the resignations of Cardinal
Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi of Tokyo, Bishop Peter Takaaki Hirayama of Oita
and Auxiliary Bishop Paul Kazuhiro Mori of Tokyo, reported UCA News, an
Asian church news agency based in Thailand. The appointment of Bishop
Peter Takeo Okada of Urawa to succeed Cardinal Shirayanagi as archbishop
of Tokyo was announced at the same time. The other three appointments
announced were those of Father Taiji Tani as bishop of Urawa, Father Ryoji
Miyahara as bishop of Oita and Salesian Father Osamu Mizobe as bishop of
Sendai, a see vacant since June 1998.

Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC)

Tokyo--  The Arigatou Foundation (President: Takeyasu Miyato), an organization working to support the children of the world, is holding the First Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC)  May 16 -18, 2000, at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo.  160 religious leaders’ from 31 countries will gather for the Forum, representing Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Shinto, Judaism, Hinduism and Zoroastrism.

Transcending the differences between religions, the participants are engaging in a vigorous exchange of views for the sake the future of children. The Theme of the Forum is "Prayer and Practice for the Future of Children." The arigatou foundation was established in 1990 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Myochikai, a Japanese Buddhist organization. Since that time, the Foundation has developed many activities in pursuit of human rights for children. The Foundation announced its plan for the Global Network of Religions for Children three years ago, aspiring at the dawn of the 21st century to create a better environment for children, the bearers of the future.

The GNRC, to be officially inaugurated at the First Forum, will enable religious people who are working for children to work together, leading to future cooperative action.  Key Participates include:

S.E. Mons. Michael L. Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Vatican;

Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP);

Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement;

Mr Philip Edmond Veerman, President of the Defense for Children International; and

Dr Vinu Aram, President of the Shanti Ashram.

Keynote speakers for the first day of the forum will be Ms. Razia Sultan Ismail, former President of the World YWCA, and Ms. Kaluhyi Joyce Umbina, executive Director of the Kenya Alliance for Advancement  of Children.

On the second day, keynote lectures will be given  from the religious point of view by Rev. Jitsujo Arima, Head Priest of Genkoji Soto Temple, executive director of Shanti Volunteer Association and Sister mary Rose McGeady, D.C. President of Covenant House. The Forum will have a special presentation by children. From the Global Ecumenical Children's Network of the World Council of Churches, Ms. Patricia Cruzado (Peru) and Mr. Arnold Engel (Canada) will speak on "The importance of  the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Children for Children at Risk and Child labor in Peru." and "The Enforcement Process on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child," respectively. There will also be two native American presenters; Ms. Christian Riddle and Ms. Shannon Harvey will make a presentation about the problems children in the Native American community face.  

Inspired by these keynote presentations, participates will then divide into Study groups to discuss how to improve the environment surrounding children, focusing on four themes: "The Realization of a World without Arm Conflict," "Compassion for Children in the Family and Community," "The Contribution of Education to Development and Peace," and "Child Development in a Wholesome Environment." A distinguishing feature of the Forum is that many of the participates are working for children at a  grassroots level. This conference emphasizes practical action after the Forum based on religious cooperation among people working in the same region or engaged in similar activities.  In addition, websites for the GNRC will be set up to increase worldwide awareness of the problems children are facing. Utilizing the media of internet, the website will also facilitate ongoing close communication among Forum participants as a venue for information exchanging, forming an unprecedented worldwide network of religious people

Seven Maryknoll Missioners from around the global have gathered in Tokyo to work for the rights of children.Ms. Mercedes Roman, Fr Pete Byrne, Fr. Ed Phillipes. Sr Helene Sullivan, Sr Jean Puritt, MMAF Lynn Walker, and Br Mike Greyerbiehl are all active in mission with children or inter-faith dialogue.  Rev Takeyasu Miyamoto, the head priest of Myochikai, a Buddhist lay community who founded the Arigatou foundation and Global Network of Religions for Children is sponsoring the Conference. As the Maryknollers drove up to the Olympic Village Conference Center, they were greeted by 100's of young smiling volunteers. High School and College age youth have active in making the conference a success. “It took three years to prepare the international conference and gather leaders from different religions and different cultures together.” Said Rev. Keizo Miyamoto, the son of Rev Takeyasu Miyamoto. Ms. Mercedes Roman of Maryknolls office of Global concerns headed  the preparation committee.  Ms Roman was responsible for gathering Over 160 religious and civilic leaders for the  three days of work for Children’s rights. Mercedes Roman and her husband Thomas Bamat are members of the Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful. Both trained as sociologists and joined Maryknoll in 1982. They have ministered in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, and the U.S. They have three children, and currently work at the Maryknoll headquarters in New York. Ms Roman has been working for children's rights since 1986, when she founded the Ecuadorean section of Defense for Children International. Sr Helene Sullivan was greeted with, "Oh we are so glad that you have come to the Forum, you Maryknollers are the true practicianers." She was humbled by this greeting. In the very moments Ms Lynne Walker noted, "My eyes were openned from my narrow view that, 'only Christians are interested in the rights of children', to so many different religions and cultures are working very hard to help children." 

S.E. Mons. Michael L. Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is actively involved in multi-religious action as dialogue and childrens rights.  Mons. Fitzgerald and Ms Roman have been working together to bring the critical issue of childrens rights to a multi-religious form. They see the jubilee year as a gate way for change. Dr. William Vendley, the Secretary General of WCRP international feels the Forum is a new beginning, "We are heartfelt because the victims are our children, it is a great joy during this jubilee year to inaugurate a multi-religious action that will benefit children." Relfectively, Rev. Miyamoto asked the question, “Nearing the Third Millennium, what can we do for our children--the inheritors of the Earth and the precious treasure of humanity? The children of the world are surrounded by many severe conditions. Some perish because of disease or malnutrition that could be easily prevented, and some are killed in armed conflict.” Fr Pete Bynre a Maryknoll missioners working in Peru for the last 50 years is well aware of the suffering of children. He works in the slums of Lima at a grass roots level. “Children's rights are in danger. Further, the number of children suffering from social and psychological problems, such as solitude or estrangement, is increasing. Children need to be objects of human rights not the subject of human rights.”  Ms Mercedes Roman who works at the UN said,  “the age of juvenile delinquency is decreasing Under such circumstances, many international organizations, including UNICEF, UN agencies, government agencies and NGOs, are making efforts to respond to children's issues; for instance, the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, followed by the World Summit for Children in 1990.” But while many steps have been taken down the road to protect children, there is more work to be done. Ms Komiyama a Japanese Catholic working for WCRP said, "After visiting Pakistan I was horrified by conditions of the children and the mothers." While millions of children suffer from lack of basic necessities, Ishihara Taro, the Mayor of Tokyo comments that, If Japan continues on the path of materialism, just giving and giving children more material, we will suffer more and more. We must teach other children spiritual values, Please join me in doing this." Developing a global network is one way to respond to the ever growing tide of childrens rights abuses. Maryknollers from Thailand, Africa, South America, North America and and Japan met to help build a global network of advocacy for childrens rights. Ms Lynne Walker observed that the Buddhist monks she works with have a "compassion approach to the homeless children, they are not angry at the system, they are detached yet loving."  While the East offers, "Compassion towards children", the western values of rights to live as humans with dignity and justice is also present at this Forum. Ironically, the United States and Sumalia are the only countries that have not ratified the UN convention on the human rights of the children. 

Fr Ed Phllipes works with children with AIDS in Africa. He sees children not receiving even their most basic rights of life. “The children often times become care takers for the mothers who have AIDS.” AIDS does not discriminate between, Christian and Muslim. “We have Christians and Muslims working on our staff.”  Ms. Roman is a Member of Planning Management Committee and a Chairperson for GNRC education study. "I do believe that religions need to accept the challenges that childrens issue poses today and respond to those challenges."  "The violations of children’s rights makes them pure victims, and as adults we have definite responsibilities." "Through inter-faith dialogue will respond to the challenges with concrete actions." “Maryknoller’s are working for children in special poor circumstances, in Thailand with landmines, to South America with the homeless children, to Africa and children with AIDS, and Maryknoll is very concerned about in-faith dialogue, these two points interact. And we have a kind of kenosis.” Sr Helene Sullivan believes that, "Maryknoll offers a special view because, we work in so many different levels, from grassroots to policy making at the UN, to local churches and faith communities."


Conference Outline

Day 1: Present  Condition of Child Rights and What Should be Expected of Religious People :Ms. Razia Sultan Ismail, National Convenor of the Task Force on Women 2000, in India and Former President of the World Young Women’s Christian Association.; Ms. Kaluhyi Joyce Umbima Execuetive Director of the Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children and Former Co-Chair of the Global Girl Child Caucus.

The Realization of a World without Armed Conflicts-For the right to grow up unharmed and free of fear- Ms. Ingeborg Kack, Member of the Peace and Social Justice Committee of the Swarthmore Friends Meeting (Quaker)  

Compassion for Children in the Family and Community-For the right to a dignifyied and wholesome life.  Ms.  Marta Palma, Coordinator of the Global Ecumenical Children’s Network of the World Council of Churches.

The Contribution of Education to Development and Peace-For the right to free and universal education. Ms. Mercedes Roman, UN Representative of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.  Child Development in a Wholesome Evironment-For the right to a healthy growth environment.  Dr. A.T Ariyaratne, President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. DrManzoor Ahmed, Director of the UNICEF for Japan.

Day 2:The Mission of Religious People to Create a Brighter Future for Children- Rev. Jitsujo Arima, Head Priest of Genkoji Soto Temple Volunteer Association. Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C. President and Chief Executive Officer of Convenant House and Chairperson of the Child Welfare League of the America Public Policy Committee.   Mr Yoshihisa Togo Executive Director of the Japan Committee for UNICEF and GNRC Advisory Committee Member.  

Plenary: S.E. Mons, Michael L. Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Day 3- Adoption of the Declaration of the First Form of the GNRC, Proclamation of the Declaration of the Form of the GNRC.  Rev. Ryusho Kobayashi, Former General Director of Enryakuji Temple, Mount Hiei, of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, President of EizanGakuin College, and GNRC Advisory Committee Member.

Closing prayer, Closing interreligious prayer, closing party.

For religious people, children's issues are also important. It is quite natural for us to help children, the most vulnerable in society, with love and mercy. Many of them are dying, suffering and in despair. It is our responsibility to do our best to protect and preserve their rights and their future.

Again, what we can do? The Arigatou Foundation, founded by Myochikai, hereby advocates the establishment of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) to build a world filled with joy and hope through cooperation among organizations or individuals working for children. What we can do is prepare a good environment for the children of the next generation, one in which they can develop their spirits freely, safely and confidently.

The GNRC will be able to bring together religious people with the same spirit to learn from each other regardless of affiliation or nation. Also, it will make it possible to build solidarity and cooperation through exchanges of information utilizing various means of communication. Further, cooperating not only with religious people but also with UN agencies, governments, and private organizations, the GNRC will contribute to various ongoing projects.

The way to reach true peace in the coming 21st century is to create a world where all the children can respect each other and live securely, surrounded with love and mercy. It is we, the religious people, who will take the first step on this path. In the year 2000, we hope that the GNRC will become a regular, uninterrupted movement for the safe and sound development of children who will shoulder the future of humanity.

The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) is an assembly of religious people sharing the same wishes for children. Its purposes are to offer heartfelt prayers and to realize mutual understanding and reconciliation among people of different faiths, and to work for the children of the world.

Guidelines for Action

To have meetings of religious people conducting grassroots activities for enlightenment through exchanging views, and for seeking resolution to problems affecting children. To pray for children who have lost their lives too soon, and for those who are surviving but suffering, and to integrate the love and mercy of devoted people. To accumulate and share information related to activities supporting children conducted by religious people around the world in order to stimulate and promote each activity. To promote activities more effective for children through voluntary cooperation and solidarity among religious people at the grassroots level. To cooperate with UN agencies such as UNICEF, governmental organizations and NGOs that are promoting activities for children, for the sake of the realization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as religious people. To advocate the importance of various issues related to children and to deepen people's interest in activities for children by sharing information through the Internet home page of the Arigatou Foundation and other media


GNRC Forums
GNRC Forums, in which religious people sympathizing with the purposes of the GNRC gather together to pray, to understand and to enlighten each other by exchanging views, and to pledge themselves to continue their devotion as religious people, will be held. The first GNRC Forum--the formal launch of the Global Network of Religions for Children--will be held in the year 2000 in Tokyo.

Global Network (Internet)
The Global Network is a place where the members of the GNRC can exchange their views and communicate with each other using computer networks. It is a catalyst and complement to the GNRC Forums, and will be open on the Internet home page of the Arigatou Foundation. Only GNRC members with a password can access this network. For those who cannot obtain Internet access due to regional circumstances or other factors, other media will be prepared by the headquarters to offer equivalent information services.

Working Group
For GNRC members sharing the same interests or working in the same region or same fields, establishment of Working Groups will be strongly recommended after the first GNRC Forum. These Groups will be a convenient tool for members to discuss issues or exchange views utilizing mailing lists and so forth provided on the Global Network

Promoters and Supporters of the GNRC

The GNRC is inaugurated and advanced by the Arigatou Foundation with special cooperation from the Japan Committee for UNICEF and the WCRP Japan Committee. The WCRP Japan Committee and the Japan Committee for UNICEF are situated as special supporting organizations that join and develop the GNRC from its initial stage in close cooperation with the Arigatou Foundation. Through exchanges of views, close relationships between GNRC and UNICEF or various worldwide religion-related organizations will be built. Representatives of various fields in Japan are designated as advisors, and are expected to give useful suggestions for the better development of the GNRC. Members of the GNRC. All the participants of the first GNRC Forum will be registered as members of the GNRC. After the first GNRC Forum, all registered members will be able to access the Global Network on the Internet home page of the Arigatou Foundation, where they can express their opinions, propose plans, or make suggestions for the GNRC.


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