CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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Japanese warrior for refugees mourned

TOKYO (UCAN): Michiko Inukai, a nationally-known Catholic author who supported refugees in Japan and abroad, died on July 24 due to advanced age. She was 96.
 
Inukai was a granddaughter of the prime minister, Tsuyoshi Inukai, whose assassination by young naval officers in 1932 marked the end of effective civilian control of the Japanese government until after World War II.
 
Inukai and her family were baptised during the war after Jesuit missionaries befriended them at a time when many people shunned the foreign priests for fear of retribution by the military authorities.
 
Following the war, she studied philosophy in the United States of America and scripture while working as a foreign correspondent in Paris.
 
Returning to Japan in 1958, she published her first book, a reflection on her experiences abroad. This was followed by several books on the bible and Christianity, as well as general-interest works, one of which became a television series.
 
After meeting a Vietnamese refugee in Paris in 1979, Inukai visited refugee camps in Thailand. This prompted her to begin work on behalf of refugees in Asia and Africa.
 
She later started the Michiko Inukai Foundation to work in cooperation with the Jesuit Refugee Service in providing educational assistance to refugee children around the world. She also supported forestation projects in Pakistan.
 
Inukai died in Hadano, near Tokyo.

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