Peace and Life

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Osamu Takeuchi, S.J. |

Peace and Life


Osamu Takeuchi, S.J.


“The Islamic State group said in an online video on Jan. 20 that it had two Japanese hostages and would kill them within 72 hours unless Japan paid it $200 million [ransom]—the same amount Tokyo recently pledged in aid to nations fighting the militants.”[1] One of the hostages is Kenji Goto, a 47-year-old journalist, and the other is Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old self-styled private security contractor


Clearly, this kind of act is not permissible, but at the same time, one might say that the means which the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took were not wise. In other words, as some people say, his assertive foreign policy may have stimulated the Islamic State group and contributed to the crisis.


This is one of the cases which show his lack of diplomatic sense or incompetence in such matters. On July 1, 2014, he made a cabinet decision on the right of collective self-defense without diet deliberations. This is undoubtedly the negation of constitutionalism.


Apparently, Abe and his cabinet are now making Japan a country which is more open to war. However, war, or any kind of violence, is not the way to peace. First of all, to my mind, peace above all must show respect for the life of each person.


Without considering this seriously, Japan will not be seen as a country intent on peace in the authentic sense, nor build a relationship of trust with other nations, especially to neighbors such as China, Korea, and other Asian countries.


Mr. Abe’s stance is the opposite. He “has pushed to expand the role for Japan’s troops—one that has remained strictly confined to self-defense under the pacifist Constitution adopted after the nation’s defeat in World War II.”[2]


In terms of peace Vatican II says as follows:


Peace is more than the absence of war: it cannot be reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing forces nor does it arise out of despotic dominion, but it is appropriately called “the effort of righteousness” (Is 32:17). It is the fruit of that right ordering of things with which the divine founder has invested human society and witch must be brought about by humanity in its thirst for an ever more perfect reign of justice. But while the common good of humanity ultimately derives from the eternal law, it depends in the concrete upon circumstances which change with time; consequently, peace will never be achieved once and for all, but must be built up continually (GS, 78).


We would like to remind the following: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).

[1] The Japan Times, Jan. 27, 2015.

[2] Ibid.


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