Ein Shinto-Schrein, die Verfassung und der Friede
Christians Meet in Support of Rel. Freedom
Feeling a sense of crisis as pressures for Japan's remilitarization increase under the Nakasone administration, Christians in Japan have continued to oppose the government's moves in that direction by supporting Japan's peace constitution. Christians initially opposed the revival of February 11 as National Foundation Day in 1967, and since then many Christian organizations have used February 11 to emphasize the freedom of religion by considering on that day the proper response of faith to the needs of society today.
According to a survey done by the Kyôdan Shimpô (Kyôdan Japanese Newsletter) this year there were anti-National Foundation day meetings in 103 places throughout Japan with over 12,000 people attending. It was reported that there were 13 meetings in Hokkaido, 19 in Tohoku, 16 in Kanto, 7 in Chubu, 7 in Kinki, 8 in Chugoku, 5 in Shikoku, 10 in Kyushu and 13 in Okinawa.
At the Ômisawa Church in Aomori Prefecture 41 persons from nine denominations gathered. The main speaker, Rev. TOMURA Masahiro, pastor of the Asakusa Kyôdan Church in Tokyo, spoke on the three kinds of suits worn by the emperor as he has performed various roles in Japan's history.
As special status is given to the imperial family whose succession is traced from the time of creation, a group of designers have been busy finding suitable material and a suitable design for the various suits worn by the emperor. As the designers' role has become stronger the emperor has become more of a robot to be manipulated by politicians.
The emperor's first suit was a military uniform identifying his role as chief of state and commander-in-chief of the military. The second is a plain suit that symbolizes his role as defined in the present constitution. The third suit is the garb of the Shinto priest symbolizing the various religious functions that he performs.
The Christian community's opposition to the nationalization of the Yasukuni Shinto Shrine has continued for 15 years. No doubt, according to Tomura, Christians will continue to oppose the emperor system and nationalization of Yasukuni Shrine until the end of time. In fact, he closed it is the church's continuing responsibility to hold such meetings every year.
The National Christian Council of Japan's Anti-Yasukuni Committee sent a letter on January 21 to 103 embassies suggesting non-attendance at the National Foundation Day ceremony to be held at the National Theater in Tokyo. Ambassador N.H. Kateda, of the Republic of Zimbabwe acknowledged the letter, and Ambassador Abolrahim Gavahi, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited the NCC-J office for further discussion on the issue.
NCCC-USA's Associate General Secretary Eugene Stockwell sent a cable February 8 to U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield urging that no official U.S. representative attend.
The U.S. Embassy press office indicated that no official U.S. representative was present. 66 countries attended.
(Editorial, Japan Christian Activity News 594, February 28, 1983)