Families Commemorate the Day of Peace in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan - Peace is not a real peace unless and until it becomes sustainable. Thus, the United Nations rightly designated this year’s International Peace Day, which falls on September 21 every year, with a motto Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.

In commemorating this important day, Japanese NGOs jointly organized a half-day event including a teach-in and a street cleaning operation on September 22. The Tokyo Chapter of the Ambassadors for Peace Association and the Universal Peace Federation–Japan initiated Peace Family Volunteer program to demonstrate that family ties and the familial culture in an extended society are the keys for sustainable peace.

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Koji Matsuda, secretary general of the Tokyo chapter, briefed about one hundred participants on the significance of the UN International Day of Peace, which calls for a truce, non-violence, and culture of peace. Two young people shared their experiences in a service project including city cleaning and cultural exchange conducted recently in Kathmandu, Nepal, by the Tokyo Chapter. They expressed appreciation for their direct encounters with the grim realities, still fresh from years of civil strife, in one of the poorest nations of the world.

One of the youth conveyed a message from an Afghan participant in the Nepal project, who said: “Peacebuilding begins when one can open his/her heart to digest others’ minds and embrace them.” Afghanistan has tremendous challenges in moving towards sustainable peace and relief from the protracted foreign invasions and civil wars.

Then, assembling in front of the U.N. University, an institution fully sponsored by the Japanese government to enhance research on global issues, the volunteers consisting of housewives, youth, and children from diverse nationalities formed seven groups and started cleaning the streets.

One of the groups adopted as their team's theme ‘Smile for peace!’ as a way of encouraging its members to pick up litter and leave smiles. Amid shoppers, joy-seekers, and bystanders on the weekend, the volunteers collected litter and garbage as they marched through one of the most bustling districts of Tokyo. The multinational and intergenerational groups gave the people of Tokyo the impression of one extended family geared for goodness and harmony.

For more reports about International Day of Peace 2012 programs click here.

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