07/07/2005, 00.00
JAPAN
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Non violence as the road to peace, say Japanese bishops

In a statement to the press, Japan's bishops urge all Catholics to "start over from peace", "first premise for human dignity".

Tokyo (AsiaNews/UCAN) – Catholic bishops in Japan have resolved to rededicate themselves to the realization of peace as they mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

A statement issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan explains the Church's position vis-à-vis the country's history and urges all the faithful to "start over from peace", which, in its first part, it defines as the premise for human dignity.

The bishops also ask the faithful to "accept and reflect upon "our history, a history which includes the violent invasion and colonization of other countries."

This invitation is in relation to this year's anti-Japan riots in Asia, particularly in China and Korea.

In another part of their statement, the bishops raise the question of Japan's development, stressing that "a country's development is to be maintained to the extent that it is respectful of nature" and highlighting the gap between rich and poor.

The bishops conclude their statement by recalling that for the past 24 years the Japanese Catholic Church has observed a 10-day annual "peace period" from August 5 to the 15, that is since Pope John Paul II's visit to Hiroshima in 1981.

This "peace period" commemorates the dropping of the atomic bomb on August 6 and Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945.

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