Japanese Association of Religious Organizations Holds
Seminar on Reconstruction in Disaster Areas
The Japanese Association of Religious Organizations held a seminar on March 14 on how people of faith could aid in the reconstruction of areas in northeastern Japan devastated by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. It was the association's first seminar on religion and culture, and was held at the Academic Media Center of Kokugakuin University in Tokyo. The approximately 300 people in attendance included the chair of Rissho Kosei-kai's Board of Trustees, Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe.
Dr. Kenji Ishii, a professor at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, spoke on relations between communities and religious organizations. Referring to many religious organizations' volunteer relief activities, he urged the strengthening of personal ties and the ties between communities and religious organizations, such as temples and shrines. Dr. Keishin Inaba, an associate professor at the Osaka University Graduate School, spoke on the importance of the role of people of faith in caring for disaster victims. He described his own experience of participating in relief work in the disaster areas together with members of religious organizations.
The seminar was followed by a public lecture. Dr. Hideki Onishi, a professor at Saitama Medical University International Medical Center, in Hidaka City, Saitama Prefecture, lectured on the importance of spiritual care for families of the deceased, referring to his experience of treating terminal cancer patients and his exchanges with their families. After his lecture, Professor Onishi conferred with Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu, secretary-general of the Japanese Association of Religious Organizations, on the significance of spiritual care in terminal care units.
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