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Statement of Protest on the Cancellation of Eulogy for Korean Victims of Great Kanto Earthquake
NAME 관리자 E-MAIL ncckintl@kncc.or.kr
DATE 2017-09-01 HIT 740
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Statement of Protest on the Cancellation of Eulogy for
 Korean Victims of Great Kanto Earthquake

 

We, the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) and the National Council of Churches of Korea (NCCK), are a united body of protestant churches. Both NCCJ and NCCK are engaged in Christian mission in each country, at the same time, dealing with the issues of human rights, social justice and peace. NCCK and NCCJ have been working together for peace of Northeast Asia including Korea and Japan since the end of the World War II.

 

We pronounce our position as follows on the cancellation of the eulogy for Korean victims in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake.

 

During the press conference on the 25th of August, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike stated that she will not issue a eulogy about the massacre of Korean residents in Japan which occured in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1923.

 

The “monument of Korean victims” was erected at Yokoamicho park in Sumida ward of Tokyo in 1973 with the cooperation of 240 organizations and about 6,000 people such as former Tokyo Governor Minobe, ward councilors of the Liberal Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, Japanese Communist Party, Komeito, and Democratic Socialist Party, temples, scholars, and academic organizations. Following the installation of the monument, former Tokyo governors have sent a eulogy almost every year to the annual memorial service to mourn for more than 6,000 Korean victims of the massacre aside from the victims of the earthquake, and to address their determination not to repeat those tragedy.

 

Tokyo Governor Koike sent a eulogy last September and with historical perception said the fact that “a large number of Korean residents were killed and suffered for no reason was a truly rare and heart-wrenching incident of our country’s history.” However, the decision was made to cancel the issue of a eulogy this year without convincing reason. It only gives deep disappointment to the people who preserve the memorial service, which symbolizes the strong will to peace in the future with remembering the painful history and learning from it, and to those who long for reconciliation and peace between Japanese and Korean. Tokyo Governor Koike says, “[we] should mourn for the victims of the natural disaster rather than the [victims from] the perspective of racism” as her reason to cancel her issue of a eulogy, wanting to shift the focus away from xenophobia. It is folly, without common sense and even distorting the truth, that Governor Koike does not differentiate the victims of the massacre from the ones of the natural disaster.

 

We are deeply concerned that the decision of Tokyo Metropolitan Government strengthens the xenophobic citizen groups, who marched with hate speeches on the main street of Tokyo in 2013, or the groups which plot to demolish the historical monuments in each place that were built not to repeat tragedy of racism and deepens the xenophobic atmosphere not only in Tokyo but also in Japan.

 

How Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which will have the Olympic games in 2020 and welcome the people from all over the world with the heart of “Omotenashi”, hospitality, can make the decision of cancelling the eulogy? How can Tokyo Metropolitan Government receive trust and respect as host city of Olympics if they made this kind of decision?

 

We urge Tokyo Metropolitan Government to repeal their decision to cancel the issuance of a eulogy from Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.  

 

30th August, 2017

 

National Christian Council in Japan

 

National Council of Churches of Korea

 

 

 

 

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