Report on the World Council of Churches. The tenth Busan Convention (Sequel)

Report on the World Council of Churches. The tenth Busan Convention (Sequel) Briefing sessions are being held all over Japan as WCC ended. I was planning to finish writing the report on this homepage two weeks ago, which I failed to accomplish. Since I’ve finally completed the article, I will describe it as follows.

(December 9th 2013 Tohoku HELP written by Naoya Kawakami )

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Report on WCC Busan Convention (Second Volume)

1. Introduction
 WCC Convention in several ways was beneficial for the disaster afflicted area.
 Firstly, we were able to remind the whole world of the triple disaster (earthquake / tsunami / accident of nuclear power plant explosion) Japan suffered from.
 Secondly, many disasters befell in the whole world after the Tohoku Earthquake, and in it we were able to acquire learnings on how we should link arms.
 Lastly, fixing our eyes on the limit of WCC, we were encouraged that we also could in fact take part in aiming to overcome these limits – taking part by working on our own problem -- together with the churches in the whole world.
 I would like to give the above explanation (intelligibly) below, using some photos and documents.

2. Asia, Justice, and Peace
 The program which was valued highly in the recent convention was “Ecumenical Conversation”. (Refer to picture 1 on the right). The run of events are fully explained in the article of The Kukmin Daily. I participated in the ecumenical conversation with its theme “Just Peace”.

 There was much to learn by participating in this program and the Plenary Convention. This was a necessary learning to consider about Fukushima.

  An assembly called Asia Plenary Convention was held. (Picture 2 on the right). In this assembly, there was a heated debate on the WCC Convention catch phrase, “God of life, lead us toward Justice and Peace”

  Countless tragedy is befalling Asia. There is human trade, kidnapping for this human trade going on, massive environmental devastation, conflict between tribes and religion, discrimination and prejudice toward migrant worker, sex labor for women, and political corruption behind all this. These issues were luridly reported with an image, in the “Plenary Convention on justice”. (Picture 3 on the right)

 When this picture was shown, the reporter from India was reporting about the aid given to a baby, who’ body was “stuck together” at the time of birth caused by pollution. Unreasonable develop is a menace to a very small life. This report reminded me of nuclear power plant issues. This child has now gone through difficult surgery, and is now safely separated. When this was reported, a great applause rang out in the meeting room.

 In fact Asia has countless problems. These cannot be settled by one word “justice”. In order to express this, many young men and women from many countries clad themselves in various attires and entered the convention with the placard written in various languages, “Peace” and “Justice”. (Picture 4 on the right)

  I now recall one impressive statement. There was a person who was at the Asia Plenary Convention who boldly said – No one knows how many countless people in Asia have been exposed to bitter experiences in the name of “Just Peace”! If we come to think of this, the word “Just Peace” should not be used in Asia. Asia is rich in diversity. Many views on “Justice” and “Peace” co-exist. The words “Just Peace” should not be used, rather “Justice and Peace” should be put in use! --

3. Speak Out!
 Among such debates we should speak out for “Fukushima”. We should be careful that Fukushima’ issues does not get covered in other issues, and cautiously but clearly speak out for “Fukushima”! This was our assignment. Actually this was daily being carried out in the booth (Picture 5). And it was picked up in a Korean newspaper (common press). (The Kukmin Daily “Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit and Prayer Request”).

 This should also be carried out in the Plenary Convention and Ecumenical Conversation! We who participated narrowed down our assignment to this point.
And we started Speaking Out!
 First, Hanae Igata director of Tohoku HELP stood up in front of all Asia representatives and spoke out at the “Asia Plenary Convention”. She had three main contents.

    1. Gratitude for prayer and support in times of earthquake disaster,
    2. Apologies for the Marine Pollution,
    3. Request to remember and pray for Fukushima.

 In WCC Convention, “Workshop” also was hosted beside Ecumenical Conversation and Plenary Convention. Tohoku HELP participated in the following three themes, “Comfort Women”, “Military Base Issue”, “Exposure to Radiation”. Kawakami participated in the “Comfort Women” workshop, as a Japanese male, and the member of Japan Christian Liaison Committee, and members of “Harmony of Article 9 of the Constitution for those who have a Religion” involved mainly in “Military Base Issue” and “Exposure to Radiation”, which Tohoku HELP also lend out a helping hand. Reverend Kida representative of FCC especially took the platform at the “Exposure to Radiation” workshop to speak up.

  Reverend Kida arrived in Busan on November 4th, and took the platform on many occasions. He not only participated in the above workshop, but also participated in the “Advocacy Forum” of Tohoku HELP and New Zealand’s jointly hosted booth (Picture 7). He also took the platform at the (Candle Night) held on Monday night (Picture 8~10).

4. Issues of Diversity, and nevertheless required Unity
 One of the things we learned in WCC was the issue of “Diversity”, and “Unity”.

 Restoration at the disaster affected area is still half-way through. Restoration pace varies according to the locality. Yet, society keeps going forward. The site for Olympic game has been arranged, and the tumult of “Special Secrecy Law” also concerns us. And then overtakes a new great flood disaster in Philippines. In these circumstances, as delayed restoration process in Iwate concerns us, Fukushima issues smolders unearthly.

 When we work on one issue, other issues naturally are neglected. However, if we plan and try to unite them all in a hurry, many diversity issues will be invariably crushed, and in the end contradiction shift strain is blown and will pile up on the weak, the distant, and the small.

 So what is the conclusion?

 Kawakami got a hint of the above question, by participating in the “Ecumenical Conversation concerning Just Peace” which was held 4 times in a row. Since WCC asked for opinion extensively, Kawakami after participating in the first convention, framed his own thoughts and submitted in English. Through the help of many, this has been delivered to WCC, and was introduced in the Ecumenical Conversation” which followed. The submitted article and its Japanese translation are as follows.

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Dear Sisters and Brothers 親愛なる兄弟姉妹の皆様

I believe you had a good experience from good Saturday programs and great Sunday services.

I have reflected on the stimulating conversations of last Friday during this weekend. I was so encouraged that many members of our EC argued the importance of thinking about the theme of Just Peace in the practices of each church. As Benjamin Disraeli said, "Justice is truth in action!" And it was also significant for me that there has been a discussion of the meaning of Just Peace for more than 30 years in USA. I learned this after the EC from a delegate of UCC-USA.

I could not forget the "Asia plenary." We confirmed the diversity of Asian problems. And I remember again the Asian argument, "We should not use Just Peace, but Justice and Peace." In this reflection, I have found a problem of this argument. Of course Asian diversity is important, but for this very reason, we also need a kind of integration. Though each problem is equally important and urgent, there is a limit to what we can do at one time. We must do things step by step. But how can we decide our priorities? To answer this question, we have to consider the adequate meaning of the Just Peace.


We can look at the situation of Fukushima as a good instance for the necessity of Just Peace while keeping diversity. There are 200,000 people who have been forced to evacuate because of the explosion of the Fukushima Daiich Nuclear Power-plant. The 200,000 people are divided in many dimensions. Their problems appear with full diversity. Acting in advocacy works, we are faced with difficulties because of this diversity. If we advocate the right of one person, we might block the advocacy for another. In Fukushima, we are building solidarity among victims first, and advocating later. Similarly, in Asian diversity also, I believe we should build solidarity first to pursue liberation.




In these reflections, I find a crucial point. I mean, Justice is always an urgent issue and we always long for Peace.

I believe we have to avoid all kinds of monism. Because we are living in diversity, it is impossible to definite a single meaning of Justice. We can only subscribe to Justice as anti-injustice. Justice is always an urgent issue, not an abstract one.


I remember the meaning of Shalom from the last presentation of the first session. I recall the way to the nukes-free country of Aotearoa-New Zealand. 40 years ago, the people of A-NZ started to make theirs a nukes-free country and they overcame the barriers to this 20 years ago. I asked the participants from A-NZ in our Madan Booth what was the secret of this success. She shared her thought that it was their longing for Peace, envisioned concretely as a Nukes-Free World. And this created solidarity.

In conclusion, we can only use the words "Just Peace" with diversity when we use it in our longing for peace within the anti-injustice movement.

I believe my reflection of this EC is so significant for our complicated problem of Fukushima. I appreciate again. I will join tomorrow's EC with big expectation.

Best regard in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Naoya Kawakami
Gen. Sec. of Touhoku HELP

5. “Plenary Convention concerning Peace” and a small lamp
I’ve heard from someone, “Each time at WCC Convention, some unforgettable incident occurs.”

For example, at the first WCC Convention which was held in Africa, participants were requested to take off their shoes at the opening worship. The lecturer said, “The land of this Africa for long time has been trampled on shod feet by people outside of Africa. Let us now take off our shoes, and respect the land of Arica by making a vow for a new start.”
This kind of “incident” should also happen here in Busan. This has to happen in connection with Fukushima. – Through these words, many Korean brothers and sisters in Christ and the family in Christ throughout the world kept encouraging us. These cheers brought forth fruit last December in Aizu. This is the “Global Religious Conference regarding Nuclear Power Plant”. Tohoku HELP also participated in this conference actively, and it became a wonderful memory to us. (For meticulous report please refer to the following.)

The greatest inspiration in this Aizu Conference was the lecture of Reverend Chang In Jea. Its title was “Exodus to a Nuclear Free World”. (Click here for your perusal with Japanese translation.)

This lecture content of Reverend Chang was carried on to WCC. We Tohoku HELP, held a conference with Korea NCC many times, and confirmed that this Reverend Chang’s lecture would be held at the final phase of WCC Busan Convention, and talked of making this lecture the goal, by ringing-out our voices for nuclear issues throughout this WCC Busan Convention. Many countries starting from Taiwan and New Zealand cooperated with our desires.

And just as we reported last time, petition to require “Proclamation of handling Nuclear Issue” was adopted at the plenary convention.

And a “Proclamation to claim for the reintegration and peace of the Korean Peninsula” was adopted with the following words written at the close.

d) In order for the 10th WCC Convention to plan a step for “Nuclear-Free World”, we confirm to waste all Nuclear Weapon and Nuclear Power plant completely and clearly, and make it irreversible in Northeast Asia. International Agreement is now being composed all over the world that nuclear weapon is not allowed humanely. Our path lies in participating in the movement that is being formed up. This movement is unfolded with a ground that no life should be in anymore be threatened by nuclear crisis.

This has also been previously reported, that “Proclamation to head toward a Nuclear-Free World” is committed to central committee as incomplete deliberation. When this decision was announced, irritated voice rang out like a great earthquake, and shook the assembly hall. This happened because of the event held by Reverend Chang at the plenary convention.

Reverend Chang’s presentation is written in the Interview of Chang In Jea “After ending the plenary convention concerning Peace” (The Kukmin Daily). I also wrote down concerning this presentation and sent the following email to the people in Japan.

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In the “Plenary Session Concerning Peace”, there was a presentation by Reverend Chang In Jea, Professor of Ewha Womans University in Korea, and a Liberian lady activist who won the Nobel Prize. After the presentation using Liberia’s powerful video footage, Reverend Chang started an argument in a slow tone on the difficulties Korea Peninsula faces.

He also argued on the topic of nuclear crisis spreading rapidly across the world, and how this crisis is closely connected with our daily lives. He then spoke about the “Exodus (escape) from a nuclear world”. This was the thesis which impressed the Buddhist people last December’s Global Religious Conference regarding Nuclear Power Plant held in Aizu.

The Anglican Church of South Africa was in charge of the emcee at the “Plenary Convention regarding Peace”. A round table was placed on the stage, and on that table sat three grown up, South African / Liberian / and Korean as they talked in a tranquil tone, with young men setting behind them listening. This was the staging.

When Reverend Chang’s tranquil tone gradually picked up momentum, the emcee interrupted him. He interrupted as if to pour cold water on heated Reverend Chang, because though he was talking about peace, the talk led off to denuclearization.

Then again, a person of Liberia powerfully gave their speech, and afterwards Reverend Chang spoke in a tranquil tone of their daily lives.

“When we brighten up our outward appearance, don’t you think that our inward part becomes dark?”

The applause rang out.
And with it the video footage on screen was turned off.
The light in the audience seat then were turned off one by one.
And then, a small candle on the table was lit.

Reverend Chang calmly, yet in a clear voice started singing in English of a song about the light in a heart. This was a song unknown to me, yet it was simple and gentle, calm yet powerful. Before anyone became aware of it, the song enveloped the whole auditorium. Some people gave applause, and some sang. Warm hearts overflowed in the dark auditorium.

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This Chang’s lecture I believe would be recorded “as an occurrence” in everyone’s mind as an abiding memory of WCC The tenth Busan Convention.

6. Looking beyond WCC Busan Convention
WCC was like the exhibition of modern age Christian World. There were many new discoveries here. And the “Church’ oneness (unity)” problem which has been and still now is an issue for all the churches, were again exposed.

The discussion regarding “oneness” went through difficult times even in WCC Convention. The matter was fully reported in “The Kukmin Daily” as “The discussion regarding oneness”, on November 5th, “Plenary Session regarding Justice and Oneness” on November 6th, and the “The end of 6th’s program” of the same day.

Besides, it has also been reported that there were confusion and disagreement regarding the afore-mentioned “Proclamation to claim for the reintegration and peace of the Korean Peninsula” positioned as “One step toward a nuclear-free world”. (Refer to November 7th “The Kukmin Daily”) “WCC Ecumenical Busan Convention, denuclearization of Korean Peninsula / Urging Peace Structure”, and November 9th “NEWS AND JOY Daily” “Director of WCC Preparation Committee, backs up President Park’, Express Approval of the United Nation’s economic sanctions toward North Korea: Directly criticizes WCC Korean Peninsula Proclamation at the closing ceremony.”

And there were even division and strife regarding WCC even in Korea. On November 8th, “NEW AND JOY” Daily published an article from the WCC perspective to refute the “opposers”. The title of the article “Questioning the director of WCC Missionary Committee, the person in charge of creating Mission Statement “The doubt toward Religious Pluralism-ist is a misunderstanding”: “WCC Opposers should read this time’s proclamation”.

It has been rumored that those who opposed WCC was the so-called “Conservative”, and “Evangelical Protestant”. However, “The Kukmin Daily”, published an article “We WEA are partners with WCC” admitted World Evangelical Alliance, representative of all churches of the so-called “Evangelical Protestant”. The article reported about the press conference which was held that WEA supported WCC.

The representative of the “World Evangelical Alliance” who answered to the press conference, held a conference with the elder (Reverend Kim who spoke at the youth’s plenary Convention) of Korean “Evangelical Protestant”, in Tohoku HELP’ booth. And in this conference, Kawakami was requested to investigate and to identify who it really were that were conducting a WCC Anti-Movement.

After returning to the country, Kawakami sent a reply as follows, and at the end I noted down as follows.

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What I’m thinking right now, is that it is a time when we should once more start praying for the brothers and sisters of Korean churches and Evangelical Protestant in the whole world. And I have been greatly encouraged to know that World Evangelical Alliance has stood up, and made a decision to try taking over the matter which WCC Busan Convention tried to handle.

In order to take part in God’s works, we need to cooperate. As all know, there are many pains in this world. Radioactive Contamination is one of them, and I think that we are together giving an outcry now. This outcry if changed in words might sound like, “We want to escape to a nuclear-free world! Let’s make Exodus happen again!”
And we are recalling this Jesus’ voice, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”

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Busan Convention ended. And the world is still left in pain. Problem of Fukushima which needs to be solved starts now. The tsunami affected areas might all the more become isolated. Yet, the Lord works, and we want to join in his work. And I believe that this desire would synchronize the breach of churches revealed at WCC through the cross of Christ, and give vision of Jesus’ resurrection beyond it. I am ending the WCC Busan Convention Report with this profession.

(December 10th 2013, written by Secretary General Noaya Kawakami)

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