Joint Buraku Liberation, Kanto District Caravan Held June-July 2011

The Buraku Liberation Center (BLC) and the Kyodan’s Kanto District jointly sponsored the Buraku Liberation, Kanto District Caravan 2011. Held between June 25 and July 4, the five members of the caravan, including the summer intern at the BLC, visited churches along the 1,177 km (729.74 mile) route in the five prefectures of the district, gave presentations calling for an end to buraku discrimination, and did field work along the way. A total of 1,373 people attended the events at 22 separate locations. Two of the caravan members gave the following reports on their meaningful experiences during that time.

Fieldwork Investigation at the Ashio Copper Mine

by Inukai Mitsuhiro

As the schedule included the “Ashio Seminar,” I was looking forward to once again studying about Tanaka Shozo, but the seminar turned out to be something very different. What I saw was the remains of the Ashio Copper Mine, the memorial stone commemorating the Korean and Chinese workers who had been forcibly taken there, and a barren mountain that remained in spite of concerted efforts over the years to replant a forest on it.

In the Chikuho District of Kyushu is located the famous Hyuga Cemetery, which contains the graves of Koreans forcibly brought to the area to work in the large Omine Coal Mine operated by the Furukawa Mining Company. The pictures of Chikuho, drawn by Yamamoto Sakubei, have been registered in the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage program, but I was surprised to learn that the application to make Ashio Copper Mine a World Heritage Site is being pursued from the standpoint of something that contributed to the modernization of Japan rather than as a “negative heritage.”

As our guide, Hirayama Masamichi (pastor of Yojomachi Church in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture) pointed to a naturally secluded valley surrounded by mountains on three sides and a river on the other, he said, “This is where there was a settlement of Koreans.” Now there are various campsites and seminar houses where lots of children and young people come to study. But I wonder what it is that they actually study.

Unless someone explains the true history of this place, it will—just like Chikuho—disappear into oblivion. It will also be like the nearby Toshogu Shrine area in Nikko, which we had also visited earlier. There, the ancient road leading up to the shrines is lined with cedar trees that have grown to giant size over the centuries. There is, however, a break in the line of trees on both sides of the highway. This is where it went by the area of the discriminated-against buraku. Of the tens of thousands of visitors that go up that road every year, I wonder how many of them even notice it.

Sayama

by Koito Kensuke

On July 4, the last day of the Caravan, caravan members along with other interested persons, spent the morning visiting the buraku area in Sayama, where the biggest frame-up in the history of buraku discrimination occurred—the infamous “Sayama Incident.” As the result of the incessant pressure put on him by the police, along with their false promises, Ishikawa Kazuo consented to signing the trumped-up confession, in which the details of his alleged crime were written up. But as we followed the supposed route of the crime, looking at the details, it is very obvious that the story cooked up by the investigators is utterly impossible. Following the “confession,” as is, certainly drove that point home to me.
Unfortunately, the relevant points along the route have changed rather dramatically over the years, as roads were widened and paved and new buildings built, so that little remains of the situation as it was at the time of the incident almost 50 years ago. I could not help but think that those who want to hide the facts of this incident are more than happy to see these changes in the landscape.

In the midst of that, however, the headquarters of the effort to overturn the Sayama trial is in a small museum-like structure that is a re-creation of Ishikawa’s home at the time of the incident. There we met with Ishikawa himself to listen to what he had to say. He finished his talk with a Tanka poem that he had written, which roughly translates as: “The tears resulting from my sufferings, instead of drying up, have become a river. Riding on that torrent, let’s break down the walls of the court.” As I listened to that poem, I could only long for the day when he would finally get his day in court to prove his innocence.

In the afternoon, we all went to nearby Sayama Church for the final worship service concluding the “Buraku Liberation, Kanto District Caravan 2011.” All five caravan members gave reports on their experiences and shared various pictures, along with some songs. Ishikawa Kazuo gave another talk after that, and we all listened intently to his appeal.

Ishikawa’s wife also talked to us about their ongoing fight, and we all felt anew the importance of continuing to support them in their struggle. It was a fitting ending to our caravan tour. (Tr. TB)

From Kyodan Shinpo (Kyodan Times)

 

「部落解放 関東教区キャラバン2011」を
2011年6月25日~7月4日迄、日本基督教団関東教区と部落解放センターの共催で開催しました。キャラバン隊4名とセンター実習生の5名で関東教区内5県を部落差別がなくなる事を願い、研修とフィールドワークをして参りました。走行1177キロ、22会場1373名の参加者でありました。各地で恵み多き集会でありましたが、隊員2名の報告をさせていただきます。

「足尾鉱山フィールドワーク」犬養光博
予定表に足尾研修とあったので、もう一度田中正造のことが学べる,と楽しみにしていましたが、全く違っていました。足尾銅山跡、強制連行されて来た朝鮮人や中国人の慰霊碑、そして年月が経ち,多くの人々が必死に植樹をしたにも関わらず,未だにあらわになっている裸の山。
九州の筑豊に、大きな炭坑を経営している古川鉱業所がある。有名になった日向墓地は古川鉱業所大峰炭坑に強制連行された朝鮮人の墓です。
筑豊では山本作兵衛さんの絵がユネスコの記憶の世界遺産に登録されたのですが、足尾銅山は「負の遺産」ではなく、日本近代化に貢献した、という視点で世界遺産を狙っているのに驚きました。
「ここに朝鮮人の集落がありました。」案内してくださった平山正道先生(四條町教会)の手の先を見ました。そこは、前は川、三方は山に囲まれた天然の隔離地でした。それにしてもあちこちにキャンプ地や研修所が出来て、子どもたちが沢山やってくると聞きました。何を研修するのでしょう。
誰かがきちんと説明してくれなければ、過去の歴史はどんどん消されているのは筑豊も同じでした。事実が消されるという意味では、足尾銅山に来る前に急いで立ち寄った日光東照宮の参道の両側に植えられている杉の並木が、被差別部落の所だけ抜けている,と聞いてびっくりしました。何万という参拝者の誰がその事に気付くでしょう。

「狭山」小糸健介
キャラバン最終日の7月4日月曜日、午前中キャラバン隊メンバーと有志で向かった先は、部落差別が引き起こした最大の冤罪事件と言える「狭山事件」の現場とされる場所へのフィールドワークであった。警察の執拗な取り調べに屈して嘘の「自白」をさせられた石川一雄さんが事件当日動いたとされる足取りを追う中で、改めて実際こんな動き方をするわけないのに警察の創作によって冤罪の物語が作られてしまったのだと実感させられた。また、最寄り駅をはじめとして道路なども次々と整備や舗装がされていて、事件当日の面影を残すものがほとんどなくなってしまっていることにも、事件の風化を望む者たちの影が見え隠れする、そのような思いを抱かせた。そんな中で、当時の家が再現された作りとなっている狭山裁判闘争基地本部で石川一雄さんとお会いすることができ、お話を聞いた後に一句作ってくださった。「苦難故涙は涸れずに川となり司法に激流となって攻め入らん」狭山事件の再審がなされ、石川一雄さんの無罪が証明される日が来ることを心から願わずにはいられない。
午後から会場を狭山教会に移し、「みんな集まれ、部落解放関東教区キャラバン2011」完走礼拝がもたれた。キャラバン隊5人がそれぞれ写真と歌を織り交ぜながら今回のキャラバンでまわった各地についての報告を行った。そして再び石川一雄さんからのお話を伺う機会が与えられ、参加者一同は熱心に耳を傾けていた。石川さんのお連れ合いからも力強い話を聞くことができ、皆で支えていくことの大切さを改めて思わされた。キャラバンも幕を閉じることとなった。(教団新報より)

Message of Peace Aug. 7, 2011

by Ishibashi Hideo, Kyodan moderator and
Choi Young Shin, Korean Christian Church in Japan moderator

The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, which resulted in the unprecedented number of nearly 20,000 dead and missing persons, has given those of us living in Japan great sorrow and pain. The tsunami that swallowed 500 kilometers (310 miles) of coastline stretching from the Tohoku region to the Kanto region has particularly shown us the fearful power of nature, which mercilessly destroyed people’s lives, and has revealed how weak we are in the midst of such tragedy. In this difficult time, we Christians in Japan who have been given an “incomprehensible hardship” search for meaning, while supporting together the many people who are suffering great pain, and try to understand and bring hope to start down the road to reconstruction. Why? Because we believe that the despairing event of “the death on the cross of God’s only Son,” made by God to be the vessel for saving all the people of the earth, was God’s plan for our incomprehensible conversion to become vessels to bring hope to the world.

We, the Kyodan and the Korean Church of Christ in Japan (KCCJ), through our respective reconstruction plans, have determined to be present with the people who are suffering, not only Christians but also all people affected by the disaster. For this reason, besides emergency support, which is already being provided, we work with people to help them return to a normal lifestyle and to give spiritual support. Along with support to help with the reconstruction of churches, we are creating mid- and long-term support plans. Jesus said: “As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:40) So we have a great interest in assisting those who are the most vulnerable in devastated areas, such as children, persons who have disabilities or are aging, and foreigners, to return to a normal life. When necessary, within our separate support plans, both the Kyodan and the KCCJ will cooperate and assist each other in accordance with our mission agreement established in 1984.

On the other hand, this tragedy has shown people who live in Japan the mistaken road they have been walking. Because of the power of the earthquake and tsunami, which exceeded anyone’s imagination, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant released a frightening amount of dangerous radiation and continues to endanger many people. Even though Japan is the only country to suffer from nuclear weapons and should know better than any other country the danger of nuclear power, slogans such as “necessity,” “safety,” “economics”, and recently, “environmentalism” have been used to promote nuclear proliferation. Also, even aware of the continued contamination from this terrible accident, the government concealed much of the truth and raised the standard radiation contamination limit, thus creating an emergency situation and disregarding their responsibility for the health and lives of the people. Already, the slogans that have been supporting nuclear energy promotion, “necessity,” “safety,” “economics”, and “environmentalism,” have clearly been exposed as falsehood. Through this accident the government has placed the people living in eastern Japan in danger and has polluted the environment of the entire world for the pursuit of convenience and profit, and the people of this country who supported this pursuit caused this “man-made disaster” by getting involved in something they should never have touched. We arrogant human beings have received a warning for our sin.

The Kyodan and the KCCJ sincerely wish to walk together for this cause and to pray for the following items related to this unprecedented disastrous situation:
1. Long-term support and mental health care for the victims of affected communities as well as sufficient
support from the government to match the efforts of the victims;
2. Sufficient support and care for foreign victims of the disaster as well as monitoring of abuse or
discrimination.
3. Absolute disclosure rather than concealment of the truth concerning radiation contamination and other facts
by the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO);
4. Complete security for people in the mandatory evacuation area, emergency evacuation area, and preparedness
evacuation area;
5. Explanation of the rationale for why, after the nuclear accident, the radiation contamination limit for TEPCO
workers and for children was permitted to be raised and a return of the limits to appropriate numbers; and
6. Ceasing the operation of all nuclear power plants and the removal of all reactors as well as an earnest effort
to replace all nuclear power plants with renewable energy sources. (Tr. WJ)

From Kyodan Shinpo (Kyodan Times)

 

平和メッセージ

日本基督教団 総会議長 石橋秀雄
在日大韓基督教会 総会長 崔栄信

死者・行方不明者を合わせて2万人以上を出した未曾有の災害である東日本大震災は、私たち日本に住むすべての人々に大きな痛みと苦しみをもたらしました。特に、東北から関東にかけての約500キロにわたる沿岸部を飲み込み、人間の生活の営みを無残に破壊し尽くした津波は、恐るべき自然の力に対する畏怖の念と、そこに暮らす私たちに人間の弱さとはかなさをあらためて悟らせました。このような悲劇の中で、私たち日本にあるキリスト者たちは、私たちの人生に与えられた「故なき患難」の意味を苦しみながら探しつつ、今大きな痛みの中にある人々と共にその痛みを分かちあいながら、それでもなお望みを持って復興への道を歩み始めています。なぜなら、「ひとり子の十字架の上での死」という絶望的な出来事でさえ全人類の救いへの器とされた神は、この絶望をも、私たちが測り知ることのできないその善きご計画にしたがって、未来の希望への器と変えてくださると私たちは信じているからです。
私たち、日本基督教団と在日大韓基督教会は、それぞれの復興支援策を通じて、被災地の教会とキリスト者たちのみならず、すべての人々に寄り添い、その苦しみと痛みを共に担っていくことを決意しています。そのために、すでに実施された緊急支援の他にも、被災地の復興と人々の生活の再建と魂の回復のためのサポートを、教会復興支援と同時に中・長期的に進めることをすでに計画し、実行しています。さらに、「わたしの兄弟であるこの最も小さい者の一人にしたのは、わたしにしてくれたことなのである」(マタイ25:40)と説かれた主イエスの精神にのっとり、被災地における災害弱者(子ども、障がい者、高齢者、外国籍者)を取り巻く問題に、特に大きな関心を払いつつ、復興支援を進めていきます。またこれらの支援策のなかで、必要に応じて両教団が協力し互いの働きを支え合うことこそ、1984年に両教会の間に結ばれた宣教協約のひとつの結実であると信じています。

一方でこの大震災は、私たち日本に住む人々の間違った歩みを明らかにしました。人々の予想をはるかに超える地震と津波の破壊力によって、その制御機能を失い崩れ落ちた福島第一原子力発電所は、最悪の放射能汚染を引き起こし、今も多くの人々の命を危険にさらしています。実に、原子力の軍事利用によって大きな被害を受けた唯一の被曝国であり、核の恐ろしさを他のどの国よりも知っているにもかかわらず、この日本は「必要性」「安全性」「経済性」、そして最近では「親環境性」というスローガンのもと、発電の原子力化を推し進めてきました。また、今回の重大事故に際して日本政府は、一触即発の危機的状況や、人の健康に重大な影響を及ぼす深刻な汚染状況が継続していたにもかかわらず、その事実を多くの部分において隠蔽し、むしろ放射能の被曝基準値を引き上げることによって急場をしのぐという、人々の命と生活に対する責任を放棄する行動を取っています。すでに、これまでの原子力推進政策を支えていた「必要性」「安全性」「経済性」、そして「親環境性」というスローガンのどれもが虚偽であったことが明らかになりました。東日本に住む人々の命を危険にさらし、全地球の環境に影響を与えているこの原発事故は、とどまるところを知らない利便性と利潤の追求の道を歩むことを選択したこの国と、そしてそれを支えたこの国に住む人々が引き起こした「人災」であり、そういう意味でこれは、手をつけてはならなかった強大な力を我がものにして驕り高ぶっていた私たち人間の罪に対する警告であるのではないでしょうか。

日本基督教団と在日大韓基督教会は、この未曾有の震災状況と取り組みつつ、次のことを真摯に祈り求めつつ、共同の歩みを重ねていくことを表明いたします。

1 被災者に対する公共の中・長期的支援が、精神的なケアも含めて適正に行われること。また被災者支援にあたる民間の努力に対して、政府による支援が十分に行われること。
2 被災した外国籍者に対する公共の支援とケアが適正に行われること。また災害弱者に対する虐待や差別的待遇の有無が監視されること。
3 日本政府と東京電力が、原発事故と放射能汚染に関わる全ての客観的事実を、隠すことなく明らかにすること。
4 原発事故により警戒区域・緊急時避難準備区域・計画的避難区域に指定された地域の住民たちに対する生活保障が、完全に実施されること。
5 原発事故後、原発作業員の被曝量、また子どもたちの被曝許容量の引き上げに関し、その合理的な根拠を明示し、その値を適正値にもどすこと。
6 全ての原発の稼働を停止し、廃炉を前提とした処置が取られること。また原子力発電に取って代わる自然エネルギーの開発が全力で取り組まれること。
(教団新報)

The General Secretary's Diary

The executive secretaries’ meeting, usually held every Monday morning, is attended by the six executive secretaries under the general secretary–seven members in total. The meeting on July 25 was centered on the reports of each executive secretary.

The Executive Secretary on General Affairs reported on the symposium to be hosted by the Kyodan at Ginza Church, Aug. 29-30, on the theme “Christianity and the Present Crisis in Japan–Issues Raised by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.” Oki Hideo, former president of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, is to be the guest lecturer. Four other speakers (a pastor, a theologian, a Christian educator, and a Christian social worker) are to give presentations. Announcements about the symposium are to be sent to all Kyodan-related churches. A list of Kyodan churches within Ou, Tohoku, and Kanto districts that sustained earthquake damage was also distributed that included details about the extent of the damage at each of the 47 churches as well as at 8 related facilities. A joint meeting between the Kyodan Executive Committee and Kyodan Administrative Officers is scheduled on Aug. 9, and the matters to be discussed there were also reported.

The Executive Secretary on Financial Affairs shared that the Committee for the Examination of Financial Reports had issued its report. Included was an explanation about the decision to reduce the amounts of the annual church apportionments for the 2012 fiscal year (about 6 million yen [$77,922]), for the three disaster-stricken districts and to compensate for that from a fiscal year 2011 surplus fund. For the next three years after 2012, the other 14 districts will bear this additional burden.

The Executive Secretary for the Commission on Ministry reported on the orientation that was held June 20-22 for ministers newly appointed during this fiscal year, under the theme “Working together as ministers of the Kyodan to accomplish its mission.” There were 78 participants in all, including 49 newly appointed ministers and 3 directors of Christian education. It was a good opportunity to enjoy the blessings of new encounters and fellowship, and the participants benefited from reviewing the basics of the Kyodan system. However, the conspicuous decrease in the number of participants in recent years is an issue that needs to be addressed in the coming years. Another item reported on was the discussion of issues involved in disciplinary admonitions.

The Executive Secretary for the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications reported on the fiscal year 2011 fall ministerial qualification examinations to be held Sept. 13-16 at the Osaka Christian Center. There are 58 applicants in the category of ordained minister and 19 in the category of licensed preacher. (There are more applicants for the spring examination.) Final decisions on those who have passed the examination are to be made on Oct. 14. There has been a gradual decrease in the number of applicants in recent years, which is an indication of the weakening of the Kyodan’s evangelistic strength. This is an issue that the Kyodan needs to address immediately, along with the apparent weakening in the sense of calling of those taking the examinations.

The Executive Secretary on Social Concerns reported that the emergency fundraising campaign for the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake was completed at the end of June, with more than 100 million yen being raised. The collected donations have been transferred to the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters and are being used for relief operations.

The Executive Secretary on Ecumenical Ministries reported that the persons in charge of the United Methodist Church’s overseas disaster relief came from the U.S. to visit the Kyodan to review the situation following the great earthquake and tsunami. They were informed about the extent of damage that the Kyodan has been able to determine, especially that caused by the severe tsunami, as well as the state of affairs caused by radioactive contamination from the nuclear accident. The Kyodan-based relief operations to date were also described. Incidentally, the relief donations from various overseas churches and denominations have already reached approximately 150 million yen, and quite a large amount of funds is expected to be sent henceforth through the Kyodan to support reconstruction projects in the stricken areas. (Tr. SM)

—Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary

総幹事日記
7月25日、幹事会を開く。幹事会は総幹事のもとに教団の各教務を担当する幹事が6名、計7名で毎週月曜午前に開かれている。この日は各幹事の報告が中心であった。
総務幹事報告:東日本大震災関係としては教団主催で行われる8月29-30日予定のシンポジウムについてコメント。主題『現代日本の危機とキリスト教―東日本大震災を通して問われたこと』。特別講師は大木英夫先生(元東神大学長)。教会牧師、神学者、キリスト教教育とキリスト教社会福祉の分野から各1名ずつ、計4名の発題者を立てること。会場は銀座教会。案内は教団所属の全教会に送ること等。また、奥羽・東北・関東各教区内にある教団所属教会の被災状況を記したリストが配られた。そこには47教会と8つの関係施設の名と被災状況が記されていた。続いて常任常議員会と教団責任役員会が8月9日に開催されること、そこで扱われる議事についてのコメントがあった。
財務幹事報告:予算決算委員会についての報告がなされた。その中で被災教区が担う2012年度の教団負担金を減額し(約600万円)、それを2011年度の剰余金から充当することにした旨の説明があり、それ以後3年間は各教区が代わって負担するとのことであった。
教師委員会担当幹事報告:6月20~22日に行われた今年度の新任教師オリエンテーションに関しての報告があった。主題『教団の教師として宣教を共に担う』。出席者は78名(うち新任教師は49名、キリスト教教育主事3名)。新しい出会いと交わりの恵みを味わう機会となった。教団がどのような機構をもった教会かという基本が学べたのは有意義であった。ただし、年々参加者が減少している傾向が顕著であり、それが今後克服すべき課題である。なお、戒規問題をめぐって話し合いがされていることも報告された。
教師検定委員会担当幹事報告:2011年度秋季検定試験について報告がなされた。試験日は9月13~16日。試験会場は大阪クリスチャンセンター。受験志願者は正教師58名、補教師19名(春季試験を受験する者が多い)。合否の最終決定は10月14日になる予定。ここ数年の受験者数の推移をみると漸減傾向がみられる。これは教団の宣教力が弱くなってきていることを示している。受験者の召命感の希薄化と共に教団として早急に取り組まねばならない課題である。
社会委員会担当幹事報告:東日本大震災発生後直ちに呼び掛けた救援緊急募金が6月末をもって終了。金額は一億円余であった。集められた献金はそのまま救援対策本部会計に繰り入れられ、すでに被災者救援活動のために用いられている。
世界宣教担当幹事報告:アメリカ合同メソジスト教会の海外災害救援担当の方々が東日本大震災被害状況調査のために教団を訪ねてこられた。教団対策本部が把握している大地震被害状況、特に大津波被害、原発事故による放射能汚染の実況を知らせると共に、現在までの教団として取り組んでいる救援活動について語った。ちなみに海外諸教会、諸教派からの支援献金はすでに1億数千万円になっており、教団が行っている被災教会、被災地域に対する支援プロジェクトに今後もかなり高額な援助金が送られてくることが予想されている。

内藤留幸総幹事