Happy New Year!
Thank you very much for your kind support and cooperation with regard to Religions for Peace (RfP) Japan.
At the Board Members meeting held last September, Rev. Gijun Sugitani of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, who had served as the Chair for six years over three terms, announced his resignation, and I was appointed as the new Chair to assume this important position.
When RfP Japan made a fresh start as a public interest incorporated foundation, Rev. Sugitani made painstaking efforts with great passion to support the shift, for which I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude once again.
As a public interest incorporated foundation approved by the Japanese government, we need to make plans steadily based on our future vision, implement these plans, evaluate and learn from the results, and sincerely listen to opinions, including criticisms from both inside and outside Japan to take further steps forward, while ensuring the transparency of all these processes. I think we always need to keep in mind the fact that we have a heavy responsibility to meet these requirements.
This August, Religions for Peace (RfP) will hold its 10th World Assembly on the theme, “Caring for Our Common Future” in Lindau, Germany, and RfP Japan will make preparations for the event, considering how we can link this year’s activity policies with the agenda of the Assembly.
There are five issues listed as subthemes of the World Assembly, and all of them are deeply related to the activities that have been conducted by RfP Japan’s task forces. For example, for proactive contribution to peace, we can conduct activities both within and outside Japan to increase advocacy for the effectuation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is the goal pursued by our task force on the abolition of nuclear weapons. At a UN conference held in 2017, Japan abstained from voting on the Treaty for the reason that the country relied on the US nuclear umbrella. However, we should not approve the existence of any nuclear weapons, which embody absolute evil and could destroy the future of humankind if they are actually used.
Our task forces on climate change, refugee issues, reconciliation education and disaster support have steadily made achievements toward world peace as religious groups, though the magnitude of their activities is not large. In the face of spreading nationalism and egoism, let us dispatch, from the world of religion, messages that emphasize the importance of leading our lives together in harmony with each other and the dignity of life.
Finally, I would ask for your continued support and advice this year as well.
Chair of RfP Japan
The Most Rev. N. Makoto Uematsu
(The Primate of The Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican Church of Japan)