Mission & Service
Youth Committee is one of the oldest committees in NCCJ. It stopped once the activities in the 70s due to various reasons. Instead of this, in 1980, NCC Youth Council started as a voluntary activity by young people in an opportunity of an encounter with the Korean Christian Youth Movement at the Japan-Korea Youth Council, and they took charge of the ecumenical movement. In the 90s, attempts to revive the suspended committee activities started gradually. The “Student Youth Movement Ecumenical Council” was held in Higashiyama-so by the co-sponsorship of the NCC Youth Committee, Japan YMCA Alliance, and SCM Cooperation Committee in 1997. It was a valuable opportunity for youth members from every denomination nationwide, local student youth centers, and ecumenical youth organizations, including NCC nonmembers to meet and report on the current situation of each other’s movements and to start an ecumenical youth network in the Kanto region.
After these movements, the activities of the NCCJ Youth Committee restarted in full scale. Now, we exchange information on youth movements of youth organizations of various denominations, ecumenical youth organizations such as the NCC youth councils, local students and youth centers, and so on. Also, we support ecumenical activities, play a role as a window for dispatching youth to international programs such as CCA-Youth, and issue “The Round Table,” an ecumenical youth exchange magazine.
The NCC Youth Committee’s two main activities are: One is support for the dispatch and participation of young people in overseas programs hosted by NCC cooperating organizations. The other is the “Ecumenical Youth Gathering” (“Ecu-Youth”), which takes place twice a year. The Youth Commission views Ecu-Youth as a place of practicing Ecumenism, and we share reports on the activities of each denomination/group, troubles, doubts, joys of faith life and pray together.
At Ecu-Youth, the program focuses on the activity reports of each denomination/group and having the participants give ideas on ecumenical activities. Also, during the discussion time, we discuss questions about NCC organizing groups, differences between denominations and groups, the attractiveness of ecumenical activities, and in what areas we can carry out ecumenical activities.
The Youth Commission hopes that the young people connected in Christ encourage one another through encounters, sometimes be comforted, be strengthened, to be a group that takes action.
Crossroad of Youth News
The Women’s Committee consists of eight Protestant denominations, one independent church, and five organizations. The committee exchanges information, have discussions to promote the ecumenical movement. The goals are: 1) to deepen mutual understanding through interactions between members of the denomination group and share work and purpose 2) to work together with prayer and actions on issues related to women’s human rights 3) to be in solidarity with women of the world for reconciliation and peace activities.
One of the women’s works in the church is organizing the World Day of Prayer in Japan. In 1887 on the 1st March, American Presbyterian women prayed for immigrants and other oppressed people, and the World Day of Prayer started. Then it spread throughout the world beyond the denominations, to Japan in 1932, been held except 1945. Now in 170 countries and regions each year on the first Friday of Lent, and approximately 250 places in Japan, people get together to pray. The translation, preparation, and implementation of the liturgy, the dedication and reporting are all done on the responsibility of the Women’s Committee.
For ten years from 1988, the WCC advocated “Ecumenical 10 Years in which the Church Solidarizes with Women (10 Years with Women in Church).” In 1999, the final year of the ten years with Women in Church, we surveyed the women’s current situation and summarized it, and held a gathering “Our Voice-Aiming for a Network of Women in Church and Seeking Empowerment.”
The WCC advocated “10 Years to Overcome All Violence” For ten years from 2001. In response to this call, the Women’s Committee hosted five forums so that we restore the spirit to cherish all life.
Interaction and solidarity with Korean church women are also one of the essential activities. Since the summing up of postwar period of 50 years, the both NCC Women’s Committees in Japan and Korea, have been calling for executing the programs of church women’s solidarity and exchange for peace in Northeast Asia.
- *Spread the understanding of the origin and history of World Day of Prayer, and propose various prayer methods in multiple places.
- *Work extensively with men in “10 years to overcome all violence.”
- *Exchange information on sexuality issues, such as sexual harassment, and establish a basis for activities in NCCJ.
- *Work to solve the Comfort Women Issue.
- *Expand the network of Christian women.
- *Spread the history of World Day of Prayer (booklet). Call for the publication the Japanese version of Liturgy of World Day of Prayer and call for hosting.
- *Publication of the Women’s Committee News “Tomo Ni Akashi O (Testimony Together).” (Once a year)
- *Holding a “10 year to overcome all violence” forum.
- *Dispatch members to international conferences on gender (such as CCA, “Comfort Women” issue, Solidarity Conference in Asia)
- *Holding a Solidarity and Exchange Meeting by Japan-Korea (and Korean in Japan) NCC Women’s Committee.
Urban and Rural Mission (URM) Committee
The URM Committee is the only one among NCCJ that is not located in the Kanto area. The Committee is held several times during the General Assembly, mainly in Kansai, and the Standing Committee is responsible for daily activities of the Committee, and will shares issues of each region through regional coordinators.
The current committee has a particular aspect as a network of groups based in regions as centers to promote the interaction of their movements. We hold a national URM Liaison Council once a few years to share and deepen viewpoints and experiences acquired by each activity while they had been fragmented in recent years. Through the council, we encourage one another and increase the sharing. On September 23-25, 1999, we held the meeting in Kobe under the theme of “Problems and prospects of the URM movement toward the 21st century,” and shared issues such as “Rural and women,” “Support for migrant workers,” “The current status of the field,” and “Base problem of Okinawa.”
Also, URM Committee has historically been deeply connected with Korea’s NCC-URM Committee, and so far has supported Korean democratization movement and made concrete solidarity through labor problems of Japanese companies in Korea. Furthermore, the Japan-Korea NCC-URM meeting has been held four times since 1978. At the 4th Japan-Korea NCC-URM Conference held in Kyoto in 1998, under the theme of “The Challenges and Roles of the Japan-Korea URM Movement in a Globalizing Society.” In this conference, we confirmed how big the role the URM Movements of Japan and Korea should play in Asia
In the past, Urban Industry Mission (UIM) has focused on labor issues, but now it has become a committee that gives weight to horizontal relations to consider various matters as the Urban Rural Mission Committee.
As a recent activity, we held the 19th National URM Council on March 14-16, 2010 at the Kansai Seminar House on the theme of “Asking Economic Supremacism–Regional Revitalization and Missionary Issues.” Kenji Kanda of Kwansei Gakuin University gave a lecture entitled “100 Years of Ecumenical Movement and URM” as a keynote report.
If you would like to know more about the URM Committee, please see the following page.
The 4th Japan-Korea NCC-URM Meeting Report.
(NCC-URM Committee, 1999, 300 yen)
Yasukuni Shrine Committee
History and Significance of the Yasukuni Shrine Committee
This committee was formed in 1968, when “the Yasukuni Shrine bill” was being prepared. Although the Yasukuni bill has been scrapped, Yasukuni Shrine official visit was planned, and in 1985 the former Prime Minister Nakasone visited the shrine despite the many criticisms. However, due to the strong oppositions from the Asian countries, the official visit by the successive prime ministers became impossible.
However, after a series of legislation was enacted in the National Assembly, such as the New Guideline Bill, the Hinomaru and Kimigayo (national anthem and flag) Law Bills, the Wiretapping Law, which could turn Japan into a country that can wage war, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nonaka suddenly stated that they would plan to incorporate Yasukuni Shrine so that the prime minister and foreign leaders can officially visit there to console the spirits of the victims of war. The war implementation and its preparation include the treatment of the dead. We should keep an eye on what kind of Yasukuni Bill will be submitted. It violates the constitutional principle of the separation of religion and politics and freedom of faith that the state makes a relationship with the religious corporation Yasukuni Shrine and expend public money for it.
The committee, being aware of the importance of this principle, opposed praising the “spirits,” making the emperor head of the state and giving him special treatment, legislation of the Era Name bill, organizing the Grand Festival, a ritual that provides the emperor with the divine authority as a public event. The committee also opposed the legislation of the Hinomaru and Kimigayo Law.
What is important? It is that we should take care of each human being, not to cherish or praise the emperor or those who were killed just for the emperor. We, being conscious of how significant the committee’s work is for this country, sincerely wish and pray that we want to continue the activity.
Buraku Discrimination Problem Committee
The Buraku Discrimination Problem Committee has been dealing with mainly the following contents.
In June 2003, we started a Christian rally in accordance with the “Job Discrimination Abolition Month” that Tokyo promotes every year in June. Discrimination about employment and marriage is one of the problems that people from Buraku are particularly suffering. We will continue this work as an opportunity for the church and the Christian groups to understand the facts as carefully as possible, and to be able to work to resolve discrimination.
The Supreme Court of Japan and the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office received two recommendations from the UN Human Rights Commission to resolve the atonement case based on Buraku discrimination seen in the “Sayama Trial.” The Committee cooperates with the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) Japan Committee, the Buraku Liberation Alliance, and the Sayama Tokyo Executive Committee to actualize its recommendations, and call for participation in the “Sayama Central Rally” and its Christian pre-meetings that take place in May and October every year.
To promote human rights education in Christian schools, we participate in the management of the National Christian School Human Rights Education Seminar (National Christian School Human Rights Education Research Council) as a supporting organization every summer.
We published “Crown of Thorns” in 2000 to promote education on human rights issues such as Buraku discrimination, human rights of Koreans in Japan that has been regarded as a basic issue from the beginning of human rights education seminars. We hope that every student in the school and every young person of church would read it.
The Crown of Thorns Revised Edition (Christian Buraku issue, Human Rights Education Text)
(“Crown of thorns” Committee January 2004, 800 yen + tax)
(NCC Buraku Discrimination Problem Committee 1999, 100 yen)
- Buraku and Human Rights Issues
- Buraku Issue Human Rights links
- “Crown of Thorns” Revised Edition; document index
Peace and Nuclear Issues Committee
The committee consists of eight Protestant denominations, Catholics, Non-church Movement rallies, and members of Christian organizations. With its slogan “choose life,” the committee calls for the creation of peace without relying on military and nuclear power that violate human rights and cause environmental destruction.
- We continue cooperating with a network of ecumenical collaborations, such as the Christian Network for Achieving Peace, run by 37 denominations and groups including Catholics, and the Religious Network for Creating Peace that operates beyond religions, to prevent revision of the constitution. Also, we organize rallies and demonstrations in front of parliament, praying together.
- We cooperate with the NCC international division and the APA (Asian Peace Alliance), which seeks steps to create peace together, by grasping Japanese military issues from the context of Asia (especially East Asia. We also spread information to churches throughout the world and strengthen solidarity with them.
- Regarding the issue of nuclear power administration, we will continue to appeal to the government as a religious organization, in cooperation with the “Religious People’s Association Reconsidering the Nuclear Power Administration” consisting of various religious groups. Also, we spread it inside the church as a matter of life.
- We work on peace education (education of living together). We hold a peace caravan, a children’s peace conference together with children to find out how we can share the joy with others.
- The committee members will strengthen the collaborations of information and actions by connecting each member’s activities on peace and nuclear issues. Employing such as Internet conference, we figure out how the members in remote areas engaged in local activities can participate in the committee.
Human Rights of Foreign Residents Committee
The predecessor of the Human Rights of Foreign Residents Committee was the Minority Issues Research Committee, which was launched in 1967. Although the committee changed its name in 1972, it has consistently worked on the acquisition of human rights by Koreans in Japan from the beginning as its central task. Fights against employment discrimination and seeking securities on ethnic education have been carried out, including the one against the immigration control bill around 1970.
Since the 1980s, people have been carrying out fingerprint rejection movements in many areas, and in response to the rise of the action throughout Japan, in 1987, the National Christian Conference for Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents (Gaikikyo) was launched. The conference consists of various denominations and local organizations including us. Since then, we have been continuing the activities in cooperation with the Gaikikyo asking for a radical revision of the Law for Foreign Residents.
In particular, we are focusing on the promotion of the Foreign Residents Basic Bill published by Gaikikyo in 1999. Based on the resolutions by the NCC Executive committee, we have been enhancing the movement with Gaikikyo by issuing booklets and leaflets, holding seminars and national meetings.
Also, we have a long history of joint struggle with Korea, such as the NCC Human Rights Commission of Korea, over human rights in Japan. In June 1999, we held the 7th International Symposium on Foreign Relations Issues in Tokyo in association with six organizations under the theme of “The Common Issues of the Church in Japan, Korea in 21st century’s Asia,” or accept a visit of the Korean Church to Japan’s brethren in hardship (August 2008 in Keihanshin area and Hiroshima). The relationship between Japan and Korea is deepening.
“Chronicle: 100 Years of Christianity of Japan and Korea (planned by the Human Rights of Foreign Residents Committee, edited by Akihiko Yahata, published by Kobe Student Center Publishing Department 1997, 1600yen)“
“Basic Law for Foreign Residents Booklet- Declaration of Foreign Residents’ Rights (edited and published by National Christian Conference for Promotion of a Basic Law for Foreign Residents 1999 500yen)”
“People with Disabilities” and the Church Committee
The launching of the “People with Disabilities” and the Church Committee was approved at the NCC 27th General Assembly in March 1979, just before the 100th anniversary of International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981. Since then, we have been conducting committee activities with the goal of achieving full participation and equality of people with disabilities in the church and society.
The main activities: We announce “The Disabled Persons’ Week” which starts on the second Sunday of November every year, and organize study meetings and lectures. and various Christian “disability” groups across the country. We hold the Exchange Seminars of national Christian “People with Disabilities” organizations to promote the exchange of information. Also, in addition to publishing “People with Disabilities” and Church Issue News, several times a year, we also dispatch representatives to the “disability people” International Conference hosted by WCC / CCA.
Furthermore, since 2002, we have alternately held joint exchange seminars with the Korean Committee on Disabled People every two years, in hope of international exchange. In the future, We would like to try to deepen our mutual understanding of the “disabled persons” problems and to seek works that meet the basic principles of NCC.
(All currently out of print.)
“God’s Family-Disabled and the Church”
WCC translated and published by the Commission of Faith and Order Committee (Shinkyo Publishing Company 1981 1400yen)
“So That the God’s Works Might Be Revealed”
“Aiming To Establish the Theology of Disabled People”
(Shinkyo Publishing Company 1993 980 yen)
“God Saw It, It Was Very Good-Theology of People with Disabilities”
(NCCJ-CCA ed. 1996 1000 yen
“Device and Care to the Church-To Be with the Disabled and Elderly People”
(“People with Disabilities” and the Church Problem Committee 300 yen)