Bishops have agreed to bolster aid and reconstruction efforts in and around Sendai diocese at a meeting that ended this week.
The decision was made at the 2011 Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ) which took place from June 13 to June 17 at the Japan Catholic Center in Tokyo.
The focus of the assembly was the problem of bolstering their response to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
They decided that all Japanese dioceses will participate in reconstruction assistance for Sendai diocese.
The decision cements a policy of coordinated nationwide relief efforts that has been in effect since late May.
The CBCJ established an Office for Reconstruction Assistance that stays in communication with and coordinates the various ecclesiastical provinces and male and female religious orders and mission societies.
The bishop’s conference also agreed to facilitate the assignment of priests from around Japan to the Sendai region, while the three archbishops overseeing Japan’s ecclesiastical provinces would secure the cooperation of the president and vice-president of the Conference of Major Superiors to form a “support desk” which will be available for consultation.
Financial assistance is to be spread over three years beginning with the 2011 fiscal year.
According to the conference, the CBCJ General Secretariat will send a donation of 30 million yen (about US$373,000) each year for three years to Sendai diocese, while Saitama diocese will get 10 million yen per year.
Sendai and Saitama will also be exempt from their expected contributions to the CBCJ General Secretariat for three years starting with the 2011 fiscal year.
The burden of making up for this financial shortfall will be divided among the remaining 14 dioceses.