Religions for Peace Japan's Board of Directors met January 25 in the Horin-kaku Guest Hall at Rissho Kosei-kai headquarters in Tokyo. Rissho Kosei-kai was represented by President Nichiko Niwano, president of Religions for Peace Japan; President-designate Kosho Niwano; and chair of Rissho Kosei-kai's board of trustees, Rev. Takeshi Kawabata.
Six task forces proposed projects and guidelines for 2017. The six task forces address (1) the abolition of nuclear weapons, (2) climate change, (3) reconstruction in areas of northeastern Japan damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, (4) relief of victims of the 2016 earthquake in Kumamoto Prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu, (5) peace education, and (6) refugee problems. The directors approved of all their proposals, as follows:
In September 2016, UN member states adopted a resolution by a General Assembly committee calling for negotiations on a legally binding treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. Negotiations for the treaty are to begin in March. The task force for nuclear disarmament proposed, in cooperation with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, to publish a handbook on nuclear weapons abolition to present to officials of the participating nations and the media.
The task force on climate change proposed a reforestation project in Saitama Prefecture as a countermeasure to global warming, and the task force for peace education explained its plan to implement a program to train facilitators promoting reconciliation. The task force on refugee problems announced that in March it will accept six Syrian refugees for study in Japan. The task force for relief of victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan announced that it will continue to support rebuilding communities there in cooperation with various religious organizations. The task force for relief of victims of the earthquake in Kumamoto said it will assist local groups supporting the disabled, elderly, children, pregnant women, and foreigners in becoming self-reliant and mutually supportive.
The directors also discussed the 2017 budget, and afterward it was proposed that Religions for Peace Japan notify the secretariat of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP) of its intention to host the ACRP's next general assembly.
Then several reports were presented, including ones on a symposium in Kyoto in October to commemorate the ACRP's 40th anniversary as well as activities of the task forces and permanent committees. Later on the same day, Religions for Peace Japan's Board of Councilors endorsed the Board of Directors' decisions.
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