by Mons. Isao Kikuchi
A message of solidarity to the Church of Myanmar from Msgr. Isao Kikuchi. “I am impressed by the great dedication and commitment of the people”. A request to the Japanese government.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) – “I am impressed by the great dedication and commitment of the people I met and I deeply pray that their hopes and aspirations will not be destroyed”: this is the message that Msgr. Isao Kikuchi, archbishop of Tokyo, sent to all the bishops of Myanmar to express his solidarity and that of the Church in Japan with the population and the Church of Myanmar. The prelate who visited Myanmar last year prays “that the sacrifices and prayers of the people of Myanmar bring peace and renewal to their country”.
Other Asian Churches have expressed their closeness to the population and Christian communities, exhorting them to peace, but also to work for democracy. In recent days, the cardinals of Asia issued an appeal for peace. The Church of Korea and Card. Yeom expressed their sympathy for the population, recalling that Korea itself has experienced the transition from military dictatorship to democracy.
Activists in Myanmar note that Japan has condemned the coup from a diplomatic point of view, but has not initiated sanctions. Above all, they are calling on Japanese development agencies to cut funding for companies linked to Myanmar junta and their projects. These include the construction of a bridge in the city of Thanlyin.
Here is the message of Msgr. Kikuchi (dated March 19, 2021)
Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar
President Cardinal Charles Bo
Bishops of Myanmar
During this season of Lent, when we strive through prayer and sacrifice to renew our commitment to Christ and foster new life within our communities, we in Tokyo pray that the sacrifice and prayers of the people of Myanmar will bring peace and renewal to their country. Having developed a sister church relationship with the Myanmar Church, we are greatly concerned about the current situation and how it is affecting all the people.
I wish to assure you of our prayerful solidarity with the church of Myanmar and with its role of serving the weak and seeking peace for all. With the Holy Father, we pray that those with authority will work “with sincere willingness at the service of the common good, of fundamental human and civil rights, of promoting social justice and national stability, for a harmonious, democratic and peaceful coexistence.” (As reported by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva February 12 2021)
I remember with happiness my own visits to Myanmar, most recently in February 2020. Though only 6 days long, I was able to learn a lot about the situation of the Church in Myanmar, its joys and challenges, its struggles and its resilience. I am impressed by the great dedication and commitment of the people I met and deeply pray that their hopes and aspirations will not be destroyed.
As Cardinal Charles wrote, “Peace is possible. Peace is the only way.” I have asked that the churches of Tokyo pray for Myanmar and in our own small way offer support and encouragement to our sisters and brothers in Myanmar.
Fraternally yours in Christ
+ Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo