Japan Multi-Religious Conference for Climate Justice

 

Religious and spiritual leaders from across Japan, and followers of diverse religions, are coming together to learn about the climate crisis and what they can do to turn Japan into a leader for climate justice.

Thursday, 21 April, 2:00-4:00 pm JST

In recent years, Japan has begun to experience the impact of climate change. Violent rainstorms have caused deadly landslides. Rising ocean temperatures are impacting Japanese fishing.  These and other impacts will continue to grow worse and will bring harm to many innocent people and communities in Japan, across Asia and beyond.  The most vulnerable communities suffer the worst impacts despite having done nothing to create the problem.

Japan has the world’s third largest economy and is the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gasses. Climate leadership by the Japanese government and financial institutions is vital to meeting the 1.5 degree temperature rise goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. It is urgently important that Japan reduce its emissions, phase out fossil fuels, and accelerate renewable energy development that will create green jobs.

However, Japanese climate policy and finance are rated as insufficient by respected international authorities. The country still relies heavily on coal – the most heavily emitting of all fossil fuels. Japan is one of the world’s most active exporters and financiers of coal plants. Too often, the Japanese government supports unproven or false solutions to the crisis which are favored by the fossil fuel industry.

Religious groups in Japan have an important role to play, by raising awareness about the threat of climate change and calling publicly for climate action that reflects spiritual wisdom and values.  To advance this effort, GreenFaith – an international, multi-faith climate change organization – is working with Japanese religious and climate groups to organize this conference.

Conference participants will:

  • Offer and listen to prayers and religious reflections on climate change
  • Learn from Japanese scientific authorities about the urgent state of climate change and its impacts on Japan
  • Gain knowledge about the need for change in climate policy by Japan’s government and financial institutions
  • Hear from grassroots community leaders about the negative impact of Japan’s overseas financing of coal plants
  • Understand the importance of a coal phase-out and a rapid increase in renewable energy
  • Learn about opportunities for religious action for climate justice at the local and national levels

The conference is organized by GreenFaith, an international, multi-religious climate justice organization. It is co-sponsored by Religions for Peace – Japan, Soka Gakkai International, and Kiko Network.

  • Mr. Seita Emori, Earth System Division Deputy Director, National Institute of Environmental Studies, Japan
  • Ms. Takako Momoi, Tokyo office Director, Kiko Network
  • Grassroots leaders opposing the Japan-financed coal plant in Indramayu, Indonesia
  • Yuki Murohashi, Japan Youth Council
  • Rev. Tsunehito Tanaka, President of Shinsei-kai, a lay Buddhist organization, Chair of Climate Change Task Force of Religions for Peace Japan
  • Rt. Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake, Shinto priest of Konko-kyo, Board member of Religions for Peace Japan
  • Ven. Doken Yasaka, Buddhist monk, Director of Nakayamashingoshoshu, Member of  Climate Change Task Force of Religions for Peace Japan
  • Ven. Ryushin Kobayashi, Buddhist monk, Mt. Hiei,  Board member of Youth Department of Religions for Peace Japan.
  • Prayers and Spiritual Reflections from representatives of the Buddhist, Shinto, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and other religious communities
  • Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith

GreenFaith
Soka Gakkai International
Religions for Peace – Japan
Kiko Network

350.org Japan
Friends of the Earth Japan

13:20-13:50 Organizers and parties meet via Zoom (final meeting)

13:55 Announcement before start

Opening Announcement

Opening prayer (greetings from two representatives of religious organizations)

  • Tsunehito Tanaka, Chairman of Shinseikai, Head of Climate Crisis Task Force, WCRP Japan Committee
  • Yoshinobu Miyake (Head minister of Konkokyo Kasugaoka Church, Director of WCRP Japan Committee)

“Climate Crisis Scientific Update”

  • Masata Emori (Deputy Director, Earth System Area, National Institute for Environmental Studies)

Q&A

Prayer and Teaching 1 (Reflections from two representatives of religious organizations)

  • Yasaka Yukinori (Head of Nakayama Body Language Masamune, member of the Climate Crisis Task Force of the WCRP Japan Committee)
  • Takamasa Kobayashi, Priest at Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hieizan, Secretary of the Japan Youth Division of WCRP

“Japan’s Climate Change Policy”

  • Mayumi Iida, Program Manager, Business Task Force Division, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

“The Need for a Surge in Coal Free and Renewable Energy”

  • Takako Momoi, Director, Climate Network Tokyo Office

Q&A

Prayer and Teaching 2 (Reflections from two representatives of religious organizations)

  • Toshiyuki Yamoto (Acting Director, Social Exchange Department, Shinnyoen)
  • Tomohiko Aijima, Director, International Peace Movement Bureau, Soka Gakkai

“Japan’s Impact on the World”

  • Local leaders in West Java, Indonesia
  • Indonesian Interpreter Takashi Suzuki

Presentations by Youth Organization Leaders

  • Yuki Murohashi (President, Japan Youth Council)

“The Global Multifaith Climate Change Movement and Japanese Religious Organizations”

  • Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, Green Face

Prayer and Teaching 3, Closing Remarks

  • Jonathan Watts, Research Fellow, International Center for Buddhist Studies and Coordinator, New International Engaged Bhuddism Study Group
  • Daisuke Narui (Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Niigata)

Commemorative photo taken

Closing announcement