12/01/2015, 00.00
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Nuncio to Japan calls for engaging young people to defeat global warming

The Holy See representative in Tokyo tells AsiaNews that Japan is very interested in the issue. “This is why we organised this symposium” at Sophia University, involving young people who are the key to real change. The Japanese government is concerned about the country’s declining birth rate, but a solution “needs a lot of time”.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The key to real change in the global warming issue "is to involve young people. They are the future, and must be more aware of the problem. That is why we want to find every way to involved them,” said Mgr Joseph Chennoth, apostolic nuncio to Japan. To this end, Japan’s main Catholic educational institution, Sophia University, is organising a symposium for 4 December.

Climate change "is a real thing,” the Holy See representative told AsiaNews. “Meeting its complex challenges requires vision and commitment from world leaders. The encyclical Laudato si’ provides the global community a way to a sustainable future for everyone. This is why we invited environmental policy experts to join students and professors to share ideas about the future."

The list of speakers includes, in addition to the nuncio, people like Fr Patxi Alvarez, SJ, head of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

"I believe that Japan is very interested in solving the climate issue and global warming,” Mgr Chennoth said. “They are working on the problem and they want to cooperate as much as possible with the rest of the world. The Japanese Church is committed to the issue as well; this is why we organised this symposium."

For the nuncio, the main goal "is to raise awareness among young people about this issue. Young people are the ones who need greater awareness of the problem; they are the ones who must participate actively in various activities."

On a different issue, Tokyo’s action against a falling birth rate is something positive, Mgr Chennoth said. "The government is doing a lot to increase the population,” he said. This includes “social policies favourable to new births. It is a process that  needs a lot of time, but the government is aware of it."

For this reason, the Japanese Catholic Church "must commit itself with the same vigour and enthusiasm of the martyrs and hidden Christians, who for more than 200 years kept the faith despite persecution. We need to start from them to renew ourselves."

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