UCA News



Updated: May 14, 1990 05:00 PM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :

The firing of shots into the home of a Christian university president has been linked to his involvement in a call for the government to reconsider its role in upcoming enthronment ceremonies for Emperor Akihito.

On April 22 two shots were fired into the home of Yuge Toru, 66, president of Ferris College for Women. The bullets passed through the window of the study where he was sitting, but he was unharmed.

The attack followed the release of a statement signed by the presidents of four Christian universities, including Yuge, which criticized government involvement in the emperor´s enthronement ceremony scheduled for Nov. 10 and the more controversial Daijosai (Great Thanksgiving Ceremony) set for Nov. 18.

The statement urged the government "to make a clear distinction between the provisions of the present constitution, which defines the emperor as the symbol of state, and the former system of divine imperial sovereignty."

The four described the Jan. 19 announcement of enthronement ceremonies as having been made without "due reflection and discussion even though there is room to doubt their legality under the present constitution which declares sovereignty to rest with the people."

The university presidents said the Daijosai is particularly disturbing because it has been acknowledged as the moment "which transforms the emperor into a living god, an idea declared baseless by the late Emperor Hirohito in his New Year´s address some 44 years ago."

To hold such a ceremony, they conclude, will be not only an infringement on the separation of state and religion, but also a cause of suspicion among "those neighboring countries to which Japan, under the guise of imperial divine sovereignty, brought such tremendous suffering."

The statement was also signed by Tsuge Kazuo, Watanabe Yasuo and Fukuda Kanichi, presidents of Kwansei Gakuin University, International Christian University, and Meiji Gakuin University respectively.

-- This is not the first act of violence against critics of Japan´s emperor system. Nagasaki´s Catholic Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima was seriously wounded by a right-wing gunman last Jan. 18, after publicly saying that the late Emperor Hirohito shared responsibility for Japan´s involvement in World War II.

Meanwhile Japan´s National Christian Council established the Center for Signature Collection Against Daijosai, which has organized protests and signature petitions condemning government involvement in what it describes as a Shinto religious ceremony.


Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia