Happy New Year!
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the daily support and cooperation extended by you all.
Last year, a new Chair was selected for Religions for Peace (RfP) Japan.
After serving as the Chair for six years over three terms, Rev. Gijun Sugitani resigned from the position. When RfP Japan was transformed into a public interest incorporated foundation in April 2012, Rev. Sugitani helped the organization build its new framework in his capacity as chairman of the special advisory committee. I would like to thank Rev. Sugitani deeply for his long-term devotion to the organization.
The Most Rev. Makoto Uematsu, who has become the new Chair, has great linguistic ability and international competence. I am convinced that he will breathe new life into the organization while giving due respect to the history of RfP Japan.
RfP Japan conducted a range of activities last year. In particular, the six task forces implemented projects that will directly contribute to the solutions of the identified problems with the proactive involvement of religious leaders. The permanent organizations of RfP Japan, namely the peace research institute, the women’s group and the youth’s group, are also fostering activities in line with the changes of the times.
Our last year’s activities include volunteer activities conducted in heavy rain-afflicted areas in western Japan, the second round of exchange between Japanese and Korean religious leaders, acceptance of refugees from Syria as international students, implementation of reconciliation measures for minorities such as Rohingya in Myanmar, and many others.
In August 2019, Religions for Peace (RfP) will hold its 10th World Assembly in Lindau, Germany on the theme, “Caring for Our Common Future.” It is said that the word “care” means taking care of, giving consideration to, showing interest in, and taking actions for someone. I hope that both participants and non-participants in the World Assembly will attend the study meeting to be held prior to the Assembly to gain a better understanding of related issues.
This year, we will also start preparations for the ninth General Assembly of Religions for Peace (RfP) Asia to be held in Japan in October 2020.
As you know, Japan has developed based on two ideals: “great peace” and “great harmony". The founding principles will greatly help to achieve peace and harmony across Asia.
In consideration of the reason why RfP Asia secretariat is located in Japan, we would like to support RfP Asia to the maximum extent possible.
As symbolized by the task force activities, we are steadily making progress to make RfP Japan a more open and active organization.
Finally, I would ask for your further support and understanding with regard to the activities of RfP Japan.
President of RfP Japan
Rev. Nichiko Niwano
(President of Rissho Kosei-kai)