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Korean and Japanese bishops reject violence

KAGOSHIMA (SE): “The current situation in northeast Asia is extremely worrying, as countries in northern Asia are now looking to establish stability and prosperity through military power and alliances with other great political powers,” the bishops of South Korea and Japan say in a statement at the conclusion of their annual meeting held in Kagoshima on November 16.
“This creates a situation of threat and anxiety in all nations and generates tension over security in all countries. We, the bishops of South Korea and Japan, launch an appeal to express a hope for peace for north-east Asia,” they say in winding up their 23rd joint assembly.
The bishops of the two countries have formed a prophetic alliance over the past 23 years, as their countries have a hostile history.
Korea was colonised by Japan up to the end of World War II and there have been frequent clashes between the two over the content of Japanese history textbooks and its use of comfort women in the past.
A sizeable Korean population in Japan has not always been welcomed among the general population in modern Japan, with problems of prejudice still blocking them from employment and entrance into mainstream society.
But the bishops say their meetings over the past years have “helped them to reflect on the devastating history of the two countries and build a bright future of reconciliation, as well as deepening our relationship and sharing on economic and cultural aspects.”
They express a sincere hope for peace in northeast Asia and reject the possibility of war, saying, “God urges us to eradicate in everybody the wrong conviction that peace can be guaranteed by nuclear weapons or militarisation.”
They add, “These, on the contrary, only increase the risk of war. We would like to emphasise the principle expressed in Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris) by Pope John XXIII, which stresses that true peace can only be built thanks to mutual trust, not by counting on arsenals or firepower.
The statement concludes by saying, “Violence is a crazy way of undermining human dignity and causing disastrous consequences for all humanity. Any kind of violence can only be overcome by building trust and love and solidarity among humans. We, Korean and Japanese bishops, commit ourselves to peace by living actively in fraternal love, entrusting in God’s power, not military power.”

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