【October 2018 No.399】6th Global Inter-Religious Conference Held in Hiroshima

The 6th Global Inter-Religious Conference on Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, the “peace” constitution, was held June 13-15 at the Hiroshima International Conference Center. Many Kyodan members, including Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, joined together with representatives from member churches of the National Christian Council in Japan, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches, and several other Christian churches. Also represented were various Buddhist sects, such as the Jodo Shinshu Otani sect, the Honganji sect, the Nichiren Nihonzan Myohoji sect, and the Rissho Kosei-kai. Overseas participants were from Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Germany, Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. In total, there were 250 attendees.

This approximately biennial conference took place this year at an International Conference Center located next to the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Resource Center, which made the reality of atomic threats feel closer. After the recent adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations, the historic handshake on the Korean Peninsula between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea, and the Singapore summit meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the USA, this conference opened amid circumstances that suggest to peace-seeking people of faith an advancement toward the true “proactive contribution to peace” proclaimed in the Preamble and Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution. And yet, this is also a time when the Abe cabinet is forcing on the Diet its political agenda, including the revision of the Preamble and Article 9.

The conference offered a diverse program, beginning with a keynote lecture by Mr. Yuasa Ichiro, founder and representative of the NGO Peace Depot, titled “Toward the Realization of Peace and a Nuclear-Free Zone in Northeast Asia,” testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, reports on the spread of military presence in Okinawa and Miyako Island, presentations from several overseas participants about initiatives for peace in their countries, and a final plenary session to complete a joint statement. It was a wonderful opportunity for people of different faiths to share deep prayers for peace.

Through this conference it was made clear that for Japan, Article 9 is not only an expression of our desire for safety and peace in our own country but also represents a solemn confession and promise to the world—especially to neighboring countries of Asia—that Japan will never again commit the mistake of invasion. Fittingly for such a “global” gathering of “religious persons,” we also affirmed the self-evident truth that the peace-seeking spirit of Article 9 is at the heart of each of our faiths. The words of a Buddhist participant, who said, “Our strong commitment to safeguard Article 9 must begin from repentance and confession” informed me that the deep confession and regret of our churches for their collaboration toward war is also present within the hearts of Buddhist followers.

In our last activity together, we gathered at the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound to offer a litany of prayers, according to the tradition of each faith group represented.

(Tr. DM)

                               —Akiyama Toru, general secretary

 

 第6回9条世界宗教者会議が6月13~15日、広島国際会議場で開かれた。参加者はNCC加盟教会やカトリック、正教会など、キリスト教の諸教団、教団からも石橋秀雄議長をはじめ、多くの者が参加しこの会議を支えた。浄土真宗大谷派や本願寺派、日蓮宗日本山妙法寺、立正佼成会など仏教諸教派、それに海外から韓国、中国、台湾、香港、タイ、インド、ドイツ、オーストラリア、カナダ、イギリス、アメリカからと、総勢250名であった。

 この会議はほぼ2年ごとに開かれるが、今回は被爆地広島の原爆資料館に隣接する国際会議場で核の脅威の現実を身近に感じながら、また、国連での核兵器廃止条約の締結、朝鮮半島の南北両首脳の歴史的な握手、米朝両首脳のシンガポールでの会談など、日本国憲法前文と9条がうたう本物の「積極的平和主義」を世界に広げることを願う宗教者にとって前進を思わせる状況、また安倍政権の9条改変を政治スケジュールに載せる暴挙が現実となっている中で行われた会議であった。

 会議では、「東北アジアの平和と非核地帯実現のために」と題する湯浅一郎ピースデポ共同代表の講演や、被爆体験者の証言、沖縄、宮古などの状況、海外ゲストからのそれぞれの国での平和との取り組みの報告など多彩なプログラム、それに、グループ討議によってステートメントをまとめる作業など、宗教の枠を超えて平和を願う宗教者の深い思いを分かち合う機会となった。

 会議を通して明らかになったことは、日本にとって9条は自国の安全と平和を願う意思の表れであるばかりでなく、世界の国々に対して、特に近隣のアジア諸国に対して再び侵略の過ちを犯さないとの懺悔と誓いであること、また、それぞれの宗教の教義の中心に9条の求める平和主義があることなど、「世界の」「宗教者の」集いならではの自明の事柄であった。憲法9条を保持しなければとの強い意志は悔い改めと懺悔から出発しなければ、との仏教者からのメッセージがあり、戦時下の(各)教団(宗教団体)をあげての戦争協力に対する強い反省が仏教者の中にもあることを知らされた。最終日、慰霊塔の前で各宗教団体がそれぞれの祈りをする集いをもって会議を終えた。
(秋山 徹報)