Apr 23, 2012

Japan or Taiwan?

A title of an article in certain web-page was astonishing enough to make me suspicious.  The site was the "CatholicCulture.org" and it read as follows; "Japanese bishops hold neutrality on peaceful nuclear power".  According to the article, we, the Japanese bishops decided not to join the anti-nuclear demonstration on the anniversary of 11th March disaster in Fukushima.  Then the article continues as follows;

But the episcopal conference said that it would remain neutral on the subject of nuclear power production, following the lead of the Vatican. The Holy See has indicated cautious support for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  

I was really shocked to read this article since we, the Japanese Bishops, issued a public statement to call for immediate closure of nuclear power plants in Japan.  You may read the statement in this link.

It is not that Japanese Bishops are calling for abolishing all the existing nuclear power plants in all over the world.  But what we are saying is that considering magnitude of after effects of Fukushima disaster and considering the geographical condition of Japan which is prone to major earthquakes, it is against to human moral obligation to continue to maintain this technology in this country citing the present level of energy supply had to be maintained in order to uphold ultra modern life styles while it had been witnessed that the present scientific wisdom could not save nuclear power plants from such massive disaster as 11th March in Japan and no one knows what to do with its remaining wastes.  Therefore, Japanese Bishops are not taking neutral position on this issue.

When I read the article, I wondered about the demonstration which was mentioned in it.  As a member of the standing commission of the Bishops Conference, I never heard of such demonstration to which Japanese Catholic Church had been invited to join.  So I went to the referring article which was an article in the site called "Vatican Insider".

Then it was much more astonishing.   It wrote as follows;

On the anniversary of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, in Japan, various creeds were set to form an international anti-nuclear movement, but it was not to be. In contrast with other religions, the Japanese Catholic Church did not attend the anti-nuclear demonstrations in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.


Roughly seventy creeds and religions joined the appeal of the movement’s organizers who have been coordinated by a Buddhist nun, Shih Chao-Hwei. The conference of bishops and the Catholic congregations however refused to join in. The Japanese ChurchVatican has asked them to remain neutral in regards to nuclear power.

Something must be wrong with the one who had wrote this article.  This demonstration mentioned in the article is in Taiwan and not in Japan.  I asked the secretary general of the Japanese Bishops Conference about any invitation from Taiwan and he knew nothing about it.  Most probably, this bishops conference which expressed neutrality to the said demonstration in Taiwan must be the Chinese Regional Catholic Bishops' Conference which is in Taiwan and not the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan.  Japanese Bishops are taking clear position for this and, not only calling for the closure of the nuclear power plants in earthquake prone Japan, calling general public to re-examine our lavish life style which requires abundance of energy supply and make necessary adjustment according to Japanese cultural tradition.  In conclusion, the Japanese Bishops statement wrote as follows;

Japan has its culture, wisdom and tradition that have long co-existed with nature. Religions such as Shinto and Buddhism are also based on the same spirit. Christianity has the spirit of poverty as well. Therefore, Christians have an obligation to bear genuine witness to the Gospel especially through the ways of life expected by God; “simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment and self-sacrifice”. We should choose anew a simple and plain lifestyle based on the spirit of the Gospel, in cases like saving electricity. We live in the hope that science and technology will develop and advance based on the same spirit. These attitudes will surely lead to a safer and more secure life without nuclear plants.

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