- The path to peace "is nothing less than the path to cherish and respect life: the great earthquake
of March 11 and the subsequent atomic disaster destroyed large swathes of
national territory. It is my desperate
hope that this surge will bring about the earliest possible reconstruction of
the afflicted areas",
writes Msgr. Leo
Ikenaga, Archbishop of Osaka and president of the Japanese Episcopal Conference
on the occasion of the ten days for peace, which the country celebrates August
6 to 15.
Each year, the Japanese Church observes ten days of special prayer for peace. These are the days between August 6 to 15. The decision to celebrate these days was taken after the visit of late Pope John Paul II, who came to Japan in 1981: on that occasion he made a special appeal for peace to the world from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
These ten days begin each year with the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and continue until a commemoration day for the end of World War II. It is a special period for Japanese Catholics, to learn and pray for peace and to act accordingly.
In the text, the bishop invites all people to respect human life and returns to a theme very dear to the local church: "After the disaster in Fukushima, as bishops we have asked for the immediate abolition of nuclear power plants. The issues relating to inactive plutonium and nuclear waste have not yet been resolved, yet the Government has decided to reactivate the Oi center. This we believe is wrong. "
In conclusion, Msgr. Ikenaga emphasizes: "The way to peace, however, is far from these topics. It is precisely the path to cherish and respect life. Therefore, let us make every effort to appeal anew to abolish nuclear plants immediately and to create a society where people protect life and seek peace".