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East Asian scholars get religious

Relationship different states have with religion in the spotlight at academic gathering

Takeshi Hirano, professor of Ryukoku University, explaining religious policies of Japan during the conference Takeshi Hirano, professor of Ryukoku University, explaining religious policies of Japan during the conference
  • ucanews.com reporter, Bucheon, Korea
  • Korea
  • June 8, 2011
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Scholars from China, Japan and Korea have met to discuss each country’s religious policies and explain the relationship between state and religion.

The Korean Association for Religious Studies held the academic conference at the Catholic University of Korea in Bucheon on Saturday.

He Husheng, a professor of Marxist Studies at Beijing’s Renmin University of China, said, “Religions in China exist within the socialist system.”

The Chinese take the separation of religion and state for granted, he said.

China, being a multi-racial and multi-religious country, has separated religious issues from ethnic cultures for the purpose of national unity, he noted.

Takeshi Hirano, a professor of Ryukoku University in Kyoto Japan, said: “The constitution of Japan states that religion and state be separated and that the teaching of religion and religious activities at state level are prohibited by law.”

He said Japan rejected a controversial bill for state protection of the controversial Yasukuni shrine, honoring more than two-million Japanese war dead, including convicted World War Two criminals, on the basis that religion and state are separate.

Meanwhile, Ko Byoung-chul, a researcher at the Academy of Korean Studies in Seongnam, said the Religious Affairs Bureau generally handles religious issues such as interfaith dialogue through organizations like the Korean Religious Council, and symposiums but does not interfere with the activities of religions.

Teaching of religion in state schools is prohibited, but private schools can give religious instruction.

The Korean Association for Religious Studies was established in 1970 and holds many symposiums.

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