The Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Japan) held a round-table conference of people of faith May 22-23 at the Sendai International Center in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, to discuss how to promote its relief and reconstruction programs in areas of northeastern Japan, including in Miyagi Prefecture, that were devastated by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The conference was part of the organization's 2012 campaign to promote moral support for the disaster victims, and was cosponsored by the Miyagi Liaison Committee for Religious Corporations, which has provided grief counseling to disaster victims.
Sixty-two people took part in the conference, including officers of Religions for Peace Japan, local religious leaders and physicians, NGO representatives, and scholars of religion. Rissho Kosei-kai was represented by Rev. Keiji Kunitomi, director of the Tokyo Area and a councilor of Religions for Peace Japan; Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, director of the External Affairs Department and a leader of Religions for Peace Japan's special team for promoting support for disaster victims; and Rev. Ken'ichiro Nakamura, director of the General Secretariat.
The conference opened with addresses by Ven. Gijun Sugitani, chair of Religions for Peace Japan and a supreme advisor to the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, and Rev. Gunki Saito, president of the Miyagi Liaison Committee for Religious Corporations and head of the Tagajo Branch Church of Tenrikyo. After that, Rev. Nemoto and Dr. Yoshiaki Sanada, director of the Peace Research Institute of Religions for Peace Japan, delivered keynote speeches.
The participants discussed three topics during three sessions: how people of faith can give spiritual counseling to the disaster victims, at Session 1 on May 22; rebuilding a regional community, at Session 2 on May 22; and giving moral support to socially disadvantaged people, at Session 3 on May 23. They also discussed how to promote concrete programs of support for the future through collaboration with various religious organizations and NGOs.
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