1. August 2010
Vereinigte Kirche Christi in Japan (Kyodan) - Moderator Pfr. YAMAKITA
Koreanische Kirche Christi in Japan - Moderator Pfr. CHOI
Kyodan Newsletter, Nr. 360 vom Dezember 2010
A Message of Peace for Peace Sunday, August 1, 2010
by Kyodan Moderator YAMAKITA Nobuhisa and
Moderator CHOI Young Shin, Korean Christian Church in Japan
100th Anniversary of the Annexation of Korea.
This year of 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the forcible annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910.
The annexation of Korea brought to fruition the imperial ambitions of Japan, which were based on the emperor system, and ushered in a cruel period of colonialism known as the "36 years of imperial rule." This forced annexation and colonial rule resulted in the confiscation of the Korean Peninsula's resources, including its property and labor of its people. In addition, use of the Korean language and Korean names was banned, and the people's pride as well as their freedom of religion were taken from them. Due to the economic realities of this colonial period, many Koreans had little choice but to come to Japan to work, and in 1939 the policy of forcibly bringing Koreans to Japan as laborers was instituted, which intensified the persecution and oppression of Koreans in Japan.
We must not forget the deep wounds caused by the Korean Annexation in 1910 and the pain that still endures to this day.
60th Anniversary of the Korean War.
The year 2010 also marks the 60th Anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.
In 1950, the struggle for supremacy over the Korean Peninsula between the fledgling powers of the Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north began in earnest. The battlefield extended over the entire peninsula, which had already been laid waste, with the result that the divided peninsula remained that way. While a ceasefire has been maintained, there have been skirmishes, and the military standoff continues to this day. Families have been torn apart, and the tragedy of one ethnic group fighting among itself continues. We must never forget that it was the annexation by Japan that set the stage for all of this, and that Japan utilized this tragedy to spur its own recovery after World War II.
Immigration Law and Fingerprinting Issues.
As a preventative measure against "terrorism," new immigration regulations have been put into effect. The main change is the requirement that all foreign nationals 16 years of age or older be fingerprinted and photographed when entering or reentering Japan, with the exception of "special permanent residents" (basically Koreans and Chinese who were born and raised in Japan) and persons with diplomatic immunity.
In addition, the government passed a new provision to go into effect in 2012 that is a complete revision of the Alien Registration System. This system, which has been in effect for 62 years, will be replaced with a new "residence card" that is designed for the maintenance of strict control over all foreign residents in Japan. It will basically divide all foreign residents into low-paid foreign workers useful to the economy and irregular sojourners subject to expulsion. Needless to say, this kind of oversimplified categorization will lead to violations of human rights.
As we contemplate the meaning of the cross of Jesus, we, as followers of Jesus, must take a stand against the "building up of walls of separation" that forced fingerprinting entails as well as the upcoming residence card system, which will further intensify the regulation of long-term foreign residents.
It is our firm conviction that in a world where more and more people are traveling internationally, and in a Japanese society in which foreign nationals are increasingly settling down to live, we should be aiming to create a multiethnic, multicultural society in which we can all live together in harmony. We believe that to realize such a goal, what we need is not fingerprinting but efforts to break down walls of separation between Japanese and foreign nationals.
"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." (Ephesians 2:14-16)
During this year in which we observe both the 100th anniversary of the annexation of Korea by Japan and the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the Kyodan and the Korean Christian Church in Japan stand together as we jointly pray for and work together for the following points:
* There should be a full disclosure of the illegal acts involved in the forced annexation of Korea and where the responsibility for those acts lie.
* All who were harmed by Japanese colonial rule should be justly compensated and have their human rights restored.
* Japan should do all that it can to encourage the reconciliation and reunification of the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible, especially since it was indirectly involved in the outbreak of the Korean War and benefited directly from the demand for war supplies.
* The new Immigration Act designed to control and eliminate foreign nationals should be revised.
* Japan should enact a "Basic Law for Foreign Residents of Japan" that strives for a society in which foreign nationals can feel at ease in putting down their in a local Japanese community.
It is within an atmosphere of renewed nationalism under the banner of "patriotism" that we covenant together to work for these goals as we continue in a spirit of prayer to our Lord. We believe that it is our calling, as ones sent by the Lord of righteousness and peace into Japanese society, to work and pray together for peace in the country in which we live. (Tr. TB)
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