Apr. 29, 2006
Dear Prayer partner,
The cabinet decided the proposal of the amendment of the Law yesterday.
The one who spoke of the desire to see the primary school kids visiting Ise shrine as a normal practice, Japanese former Minister of Education and Science, Mr.Machimura's first name was not Shingo, but Nobutaka. I am sorry for the mistake. I mistook because of the similar name politician from the same area, Hokkaido.
I studied the amendment carefully. It is the result of compromising within the parties which compose the cabinet. But the main problem is emphasis on the education to honor the tradition and culture of Japanese nation.
There seems no idea mentioned about the possibility of transforming the Japanese society on the basis of the repentance to the past.
About the position of the religious education in the public education, the pressure of the right wing did not succeed to put the phrase of "nurturing the general religious attitude" into the amendment. The phrase meant to insist "so-called non-religious bowing to the emperor or to the Japanese nation" as the duty of the citizen. The logic which claims that the national shintoism is not the religion but the citizen's duty was the typical way of forcing the idol worship during the WW2 in Japan and Korea etc. and the same logic is found in Roman Empire's persecution.
The amendment of the religious education part added the phrase of "encouraging to study the general knowledge of religion", to the original phrases of "respecting and encouraging the value of the religion". It is not clear for me to discern politically at this stage the implication of this part of amendment.
I again want to ask your favor of praying for the Christian freedom in Japan.
Please pray that our Christian primary school kids would not be forced to go to Ise Shrine as worship-visit in near future.
Please pray that Yasukuni Shrine's (Shrine of war dead for the Emperor) historically and religiously dangerous character will be well understood by the Japanese public. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Please pray that the freedom of living according to Christian faith may be established firmly in Japan.
Please pray that the recent move of reviving the National Shintoism maybe prevented and gone.
Please pray for Japanese Christian citizen to raise the voice against such trend.
Please pray for the Japanese Church to speak clearly about the sin of such idol worship both in the past and present according to the scripture, and lead the prayer for the repentance of the nation to walk the righteous path before the Lord.
Please pray for our witness for the King Jesus Christ who is the mediatorial King over Japan.
Please pray for Japan's repentance and salvation from its destruction as the punishment of the Lord.
Please appeal to your government officers to take effort against recent Japanese trend. Let them step forward to prevent Japanese revival of National Shintoistic regime. Let them know that Japanese Christians are really desiring their support against the trend of such revival.
Freedom Prayer Chain, West Japan
Pastor of RPCNA
in Kobe city