Bishops to Japan: Stay Pacifist

News: World News
by Aaron Maxwell  •  •  August 13, 2016   

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NAGASAKI ( - Japan's bishops are warning against legalization that would push their nation to become further engrossed in world violence, instead counseling pacifism.

In a letter issued Tuesday, the 71st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki, the Japanese Bishops Conference stated that "appropriate steps are required to be taken constantly" in light of issues of violence and discrimination which occur in Japan "on a daily basis."

The letter comes in response to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for revision of Article 9 of Japan's constitution, which decrees that Japan must embrace pacifism, renounce war, outlawing it as a means for settling international disputes. It also prohibits Japan from maintaining any war potential. Abe believes the revision is needed because times have changed since Article 9 was first imposed on Japan in 1947.

Japan's legislature caused controversy in 2015 when it interpreted Article 9 to allow for "collective self-defense." The interpretation is broadly taken as meaning Japan could help allies in wartime.

"We must not fail to be wary of security-related laws and the movement to change the Constitution which will inevitably involve the Japanese people in the cycle of violence," states the letter.

It continues:

World peace has been shattered and is constantly threatened by such events as the Syrian War, terrorist activities by fundamentalists and others, armed conflicts involving control of resources and hegemonic shows of force. That is why we pray that powers in both Asia and the West will move toward reconciliation rather than a sort of cold war, and that the spirit of peace enshrined in the European Union (EU) will spread globally and tensions in East Asia will be reduced. Depending on the power of humanity and the grace of God, we want to realize the high ideal of eliminating not only nuclear weapons but all types of weapons and violence from the world.

The letter was signed by Abp. Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, president of the Japanese bishops.


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