In a gesture of solidarity with marginalized minorities in Japan, a pilgrim team with participants from around the world gathered in Tokyo, Japan, on 12 September to encourage, empower, support and walk alongside minority communities for four days.
Pilgrim team visits has been a central part of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Pilgrimage of Justice of Peace, which was launched at the WCC Assembly in Busan, Korea, in 2013.
The visit, which ended on 16 September, aimed at strengthening ecumenical relations with WCC member churches and ecumenical partners in Japan, and supporting churches and faith communities working for justice for local minority groups. Raising awareness of their situation amongst the Christian fellowship and encouraging advocacy and initiatives supporting their efforts to transform minorities’ situation, were equally important objectives.
Minorities include communities that are historically indigenous to Japan, people and descendants who reside in Japan as a consequence of past colonialism, more recently from outside Japan, and most recently people who have been internally displaced by the 2011 triple (earthquake/tsunami/nuclear) disaster.
Consisting of 12 members from the WCC Mission from the Margins networks, the pilgrim team was hosted by the National Christian Council in Japan and Center for Minority Issues & Mission in Japan.
During four intense days, the Korean community in Tokyo, the Buraku community and the Center for Minority Issues were visited, followed by the Yasukuni Shrine.
“There is so much to understand with regard to our pilgrimage, so that we can build a more inclusive church,” said Fabian Gutierrez, youth coordinator for the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network In Costa Rica.
All in all, the visit was a comprehensive programme involving spiritual fellowship, sharing stories, and seeking God’s guidance together for concrete transformation in the current context in Japan, as well as in the hearts and minds of people.
"In Japan, indigenous and ecumenical youth call for action against racism" - WCC news release 12 September 2019