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Japan Federation of Bar Associations Symposium



“A thought of the point at issue of National Security Legislation”


When : Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 18:00-20:00
Where : @ 2F auditorium of lawyers’ building

Host : Today we have Mr. Takeo Okada, the current President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan and Archbishop of Tokyo. I’ve heard that Catholic Church in Japan keenly reflected on the cooperation to the Second World War before and during, and issued messages to keep peace on the 50th and 60th Anniversaries of the end of the War. This year is the 70th post-war Anniversary, and Japan’s Catholic Church announced the message again to keep peace and protect war-renouncing constitution.
Archbishop Okada will explain the basic stance of Catholic Church in Japan toward protecting peace and war-renouncing Constitution, and its actions until now.

Archbishop Okada’s speech :
I am Takeo Okada. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for being offered this kind of chance
today.
Today, the Government steamrollered the National Security bills. I feel deeply sorry and strongly anxious about this.
I’ve walked until today as a Japanese citizen and a Christian, being truly proud of Japanese Constitution, its pacifism, the Article 9 and the Preamble.
Since Catholic church has international network, I have a great opportunity to meet people from various countries. The people from Asian countries, Philippines, China and other far countries. And on various occasions, I hear people say “Japan is a country of pacifism, country proclaiming to denounce war by its Constitution. It’s wonderful!”
But now, is it okay to let Japan transform to a country which can engage in war? Of course, it should not be realized.

While we had thought the government might have intention to change the Article 9 of the Constitution for the worse, but it created an interpretation that the Constitution allows the right of collective self –defense operation and had passed a bill that may permit Japan to engage in war. Many Japanese citizens are anxious about this situation. I can’t understand at all why they had passed this bill despite of the objection by 99% of constitutional scholars. As a Japanese citizen, I am deeply disappointed.

Today, I might be requested to say one word as a representative of Catholic Church in Japan. “Renounce war, and don’t treat enemy as enemy but make much of enemy as the same human being,” that is the teaching of Jesus Christ, and the main idea penetrated throughout the Holy bible.
In addition, I remember the very important gathering called the Second Vatican Council held 50 years ago, in which we had confirmed that we should not only focus on our own matters, such as prayers and church teachings, but also we should have a great concern on the situations of the present world and devote ourselves to the people for their happiness and peace.

The war-renouncing stance originates from the Good News, namely, that is the idea directly coming from the teachings of Jesus Christ and quite natural one.
However, very regrettably, I think there is a history in which Christians haves interpreted His teachings sneakily and finally reached the conclusion in which war might be approved.

Pope John Paul II was a great person. He sent letters to all Catholics and all people with good will of all over the world when the Year 2000 started. You may know him. Pope John Paul II was a Polish, who had struggled every day in his young age during the World War II. He proposed that there is a thing for us to do, that is, to reflect.
Although our Reflection should be performed upon the long period and wide area, after looking back 1000 years, the past 1000 years, he talked about what kind of serious problems there were, in which the wars came up as the most important things.
He told, “We should had renounced and stopped the war, but had not. Or we could not recognize it. Or we worried but did say nothing. And consequently we invited such a miserable result. It might be too much if we say invited, but at least we helped it. We have to repent about that from the bottom of our heart.”

I had an opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II in person 20 years ago in 1995. I happened to asked him a question as follows. “Your Holiness, you have told that the Church has to deeply apologize for the fact that the Totalitarian Governments had violated the human rights. Germany and Italy may be the first to do so, but is Japan included as well?” The Pope replied “Japan?” holding his breath for a moment. I can not tell surely as to whether he remembers Japan or not.
However, we Christians in Japan, although I am a Catholic faithful, we had reflected upon what kind of attitude we took during the Asian Pacific War.

We issued the Peace message on the 50th Anniversary of the End of the War with a reflected mind and also on the 60th Anniversary. This year is the 70th Anniversary, and we issued the message not in August as usual but in February, since the situation surrounding us was getting questionable.
In addition, we candidly addressed that the spirit of Constitution of Japan is truly evangelical and may be said even the teachings of Jesus Christ themselves.

Christian population in Japan is really small. Accordingly it looks strange to me that the constitution of japan is so evangelical. Anyway, I feel that to protect the peace as the foundation of the Constitution, and spread its ideology is our mission.

For the last 70 years, Japan has maintained the trust from other nations on its peaceful and war-renouncing behavior. However, such a situation is now facing at a crucial moment.
In the Bible, there appears a person called prophet. A prophet is a person who may bring words of God and God’s will to people with courage. The prophets were persecuted and even killed. The Church has the mission the prophets had had.
Therefore, whenever we think “We should never do this. This is against God’ will”, we should not keep in silence and should appeal clearly.

It is a really dangerous and bad situation to step forward hastily no matter how enough understanding is not yet obtained among citizens about what the word “the right of collective self-defense” means.
I think that, as a Japanese and as a Christian, I have a mission to protect the principle and ideal of Constitution of Japan, and preach it to as many people as possible.

I belong to Catholic Church, and I would like to protect the value given from all over the world, and moreover, we will hold hands each other with people from outside countries, cooperate with them, and protect and promote the ideal of peace of Constitution of Japan.

Let us take a step forward together for the common objective of the whole human beings, defending the dignity of lives and the dignity of the human being, and for their promotion.

I am so glad to make your acquaintance.


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