Japanese and South Korean bishops met in tsunami-ravaged Sendai City recently in what has become a regular gathering between Catholic leaders of the two countries.
Also present at the three-day meeting about 300km northeast of Tokyo was the new Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, who only arrived in the country a few days before the meeting began.
The annual event, which started in 1996, alternates between the two countries. At this year’s gathering, 20 bishops attended from South Korea while 17 were from Japan.
This year’s meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Kanazawa City in Nagoya diocese. However, after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, it was decided it would be more symbolic to move the event to Sendai, especially given the support the Church in South Korea has offered since the disaster.
Topics at the meeting included the work the Church is doing on behalf of disaster victims and the problems associated with nuclear energy production.
Also discussed was the South Korean government’s controversial Four Rivers Project, which has substantially changed the course and character of the nation’s largest rivers and has come under fire for a variety of environmental and social reasons.
The Japanese participants learned about the Korean bishops’ response to the project and the environmental problems associated with it and expressed a desire to continue studying such environmental issues at next year’s meeting.
The bishops, along with Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, the newly-arrived Apostolic Nuncio to Japan later visited tsunami-devastated Ishinomaki City, about 40km northeast of Sendai.
On a hill overlooking the devastated town, they said a communal prayer before heading to Ishinomaki Church for a special Mass.
On the second day of the meeting, the Nuncio went to Sendai City Hall where he met Mayor Emiko Okuyama and handed him a check for 1 million yen (US$13,000).http://www.ucanews.com/2011/11/14/japanese-korean-bishops-meet/