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ILC2021 Japan: Session II - Inaugural Ceremony of the ‘Peace Road’

Japan-2021-06-25-ILC2021 Japan: Inaugural Ceremony of the ‘Peace Road’

Tokyo, Japan—The second and final session of ILC Japan 2021 featured the inaugural ceremony of the Peace Road 2021 on June 25 in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo and virtually as a webinar. Approximately 100 cyclists and executive members of the initiative participated in the event. For this year’s Peace Road, young people will cycle across the country again in support of promoting friendship between Japan and South Korea, the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and world peace.

After UPF-Japan secretary general, Mr. Shunsuke Uotani, opened the event, guest and member of the House of Representatives of Japan, Hon. Ichiro Aisawa, gave a message of encouragement in which he announced that a team of refugees, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, will compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics and take stage under the UN flag at the opening ceremony. Hon. Aisawa said that their participation would transcend national and cultural boundaries and exemplify how people can overcome difficulties to create a better future. He spoke of how the Peace Road also seeks to help regions overcome challenges and differences and promote cross-cultural understanding.

UPF-Japan chairman, Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, in his welcoming remarks on behalf of the organizers, explained that UPF founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, proposed the concept of the Japan-South Korea Tunnel and International Highway at the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS) 30 years ago in 1981. Mr. Kajikuri explicated that the Peace Road is connected to the International Peace Highway project and has become a major initiative spanning the world.

Afterwards the individuals who were nominated to serve on this year’s executive committee for the Peace Road in Japan were introduced. All were unanimously approved by the participants. Amb. Tatsuo Mizuno, former ambassador of Japan to Nepal, who chaired the executive committee last year, was appointed chairman of the joint committee and gave remarks. Mr. Mizuno suggested incorporating marriage and family—issues that relate to Japan’s declining birthrate—into the theme of the Peace Road so that more young people may be inspired to lead in the future. He said, “If more young people cared about these issues while promoting the Peace Road, would it not carry more weight and affect more people?” (Since the ceremony, marriage and family has been incorporated into the theme of this year’s Peace Road.)

Then, two youths spoke about their experiences participating in last year’s Peace Road.

Ms. Nana Sato from Aichi prefecture shared that she initially decided to participate in it because she had been living without a sense of purpose and wanted to change. In the process of taking part in the event, she recognized the importance of creating peace through the goodwill of those who cycled in the event and the support she received from people around her.

Mr. Hiroaki Honda of Nagasaki prefecture has been involved in every Peace Road event since it started in 2013, and he shared how his motivations for participating in and feelings about the Peace Road have evolved over the years. At first he joined just to have a good time, but in recent years he “realized a desire to make others happy leads to the fruition of peace.”

Following these messages, secretary general of the Toyama Prefectural Executive Committee, Mr. Mamoru Kamono, gave a report on last year’s Peace Road. In recognition of the sacrifices healthcare workers and others made daily during the pandemic, last year’s event focused on gratitude, the value of peace and remembering the lives of those who passed away due to COVID-19. He also related that the Peace Road received support from local governments, the media and religious and public groups.

After Mr. Uotani shared the action plan for the current fiscal year, senior advisor to UPF-Japan, Mr. Sang-il Bang, gave remarks, saying that “Today, June 25, is the day when the Korean War broke out, and it is a day for us to reconsider the unification of the Korean Peninsula.” Mr. Bang explained that Rev. Moon proposed the creation of an International Peace Highway and promoted international marriages as substantial ways to transcend national borders and create peace. Mr. Bang expressed his hope that the Peace Road will play a major role in realizing the vision for peace of Rev. Moon.

The committee members shared their opinions, and afterwards, singer and songwriter Taizan Iioka and his wife, saxophone player Yasumi Tanaka, performed a song. The program concluded with the young cyclists reciting an oath.

To go to the Japan ILC Opening Session report, click here.

To go to the Japan ILC Session 1 report, click here.

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