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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan - International couples, multi-cultural families, and Ambassadors for Peace gathered to celebrate the International Day of Families in Tokyo on May 19. Organized by UPF-Japan, the event also commemorated the first anniversary of the foundation of the committee to promote a “Citizens' Movement for Building Human Capacity, Family and Nation,” a grassroots movement initiated by Ambassadors for Peace.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Hiroo Suzuki, President of the Association of Ambassadors for Peace - Japan and Professor Emeritus of Tsukuba University, pointed out the importance of building a healthy family for peace and called on the participants to unite their strength in promoting the movement.

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The keynote speech was given by Mr. Yoshikatsu Tanahashi, former Chairman of the Board of Ikubunkan Gakuen (Educational) Group and a Vice-Chairman of the Committee. “The feelings of appreciating God (or gods) will grow and develop into love. The fundamental meaning of education is to foster such feelings within the family,” he emphasized.

Then, Mr. Seisaku Maruoka, a Vice-Chairman of the Committee and the Secretary General of the Association for the Promotion of True Families, co-sponsor of the event, gave a report of the movement, including the Pure Love Rallies, Family Volunteer Projects, and Character Education Seminars which had been organized by the Committee during the last twelve months.

The second half of the event began with remarks by Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, Vice-Chairman of the Association of Ambassadors for Peace. He pointed out the decreasing birthrate and population problems in Japan and, besides promoting laws and policies for encouraging birth, emphasized the need to create a culture that values the family.

Following Mr. Kajikuri’s remarks, four representatives of international couples: including an African (Beninese), American, Filipino, and Japanese, gave testimonies of their marriage and family life.

Mrs. Nancy Nishi, who is married to a Japanese man, spoke about her first visit to her husband’s family. She was surprised that her husband did not hug his parents and spoke only a few words because she was used to hugging her parents and talking endlessly with them when she was in the USA. However, she saw tears in her mother in-law’s eyes and was able to realize that family love and tears are the same and they transcend nationality, no matter how they are expressed.

The testimonies by the international couples were followed by entertainment. Mrs. Michiko Nakamura, a Japanese who is married to a Korean, sang a Korean song in Japanese and Korean as she played the piano, and Mr. Egueh Ernest, a Beninese who is married a Japanese, performed African songs and dances.

A lottery was held in a joyful atmosphere, and many participants enjoyed the wonderful prizes.

After the closing remarks by Mr. Seiichi Kikuya, Secretary General of UPF-Japan, who emphasized the positive role of international marriages in building a more dynamic, multi-cultural society, all of the participants sang the Disney song "It's a Small World," which has become an annual custom of the International Day of Families event by UPF-Japan, and ended the event on a high note.

To read more about UPF observances of the International Day of Families 2012, click here.

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