International Institute for the Study of Religions

Religious Information Research Center

Religious Articles Select 5 (Mar 2005 - May 2005)

About these articles

"Religious Articles Select 5" is the contents that introduce the Religious News Digest in Japan. All articles are picked up by Prof. Nobutaka Inoue who is the chief of RIRC, and selceted from the last "RIRC REPORT"; the publication for our members by the seasons.

Articles of the Past

From Specialized News Sources

February 22
The Japanese Association of Religious Organizations held its first Religion and Bio-ethics conference under the theme "Considering Organ Transplants ? The Amendment of the Organ Transplant Act and the Tasks of Life Science Research" at the Suginami Serenity Hall in Tokyo. Factions in support and opposition to the amendment as well as those advocating a careful consideration of it voiced their respective views on the issue.

March 24
The Nagoya District Court ruled that memorial services for pets should be subject to taxation as they constitute a profit-making business and rejected a petition filed by the Jimyo Temple of the Buddhist Tendai School asking to revoke taxation on these services.

April 8
The 14th Dalai Lama visited Japan on the 8th on invitation of the non-profit organization Renge International Volunteer Association. During his visit he gave a speech with the title "Compassion and Human Relations" at the Kokugi Hall in Ryogoku, Tokyo.

May 2
The Yamaguchi Ceremony was performed as the first of the various festivities to be held on occasion of the instalment of the sacred object of worship at the new worship hall at Ise Shrine.

May 13
The bill asking for the renaming of the Greenery Day (Midori no Hi), which is the birthday of the late Showa Emperor, into Showa Day passed the plenary session of the House of Councilors on support of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, and the New Clean Government Party.

From Domestic News Sources

March 19
On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by Aum Shinrikyo, a memorial march was conducted under the sponsorship of the non-profit organization Recovery Support Centre. Victims and family members, numbering 110 persons altogether, walked above ground from Kodenma Station to Kasumigaseki Station on the Hibiya Line, laying down flowers at all the stations where casualties had occurred.

March 19
Tokyo City official KURODA Yoshiki sent an engagement gift to Princess Norinomiya through an intermediary, which is part of the traditional courting ritual. With this, the engagement procedure was formally completed.

April 6
Kyoto Prefecture Police and Yawata City Police arrested head minister KIN Tamotsu of the Central Church of Holy God in Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture, on charges of sexually abusing a twelve year old girl belonging to his congregation.

April 8
A memorial mass in honour of the late pope John Paul II. who had passed away on April 2 was held at Saint Mary's Cathedral in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. The mass was attended by all the foreign ambassadors to Japan, members of the government, and approximately 1500 believers. The crown prince also attended and made an offering of flowers.

April 26
Judgement was delivered at the Tokyo District Court on Mrs. TAKAHASHI Yoko, and Mr. FUJIBAYASHI Masataka, two members of the Keroyon Club, a splinter group of Aum Shinrikyo. The two were accused of physical abuse under the pretext of religious austerities leading to the death of a female member of the group in September 2004 on orders of the group leader KITAZAWA Yuko, who is also currently standing trial in the same case. The two were charged with injury leading to death, and the verdict read 6 years imprisonment without a stay of execution for Mrs. Takahashi and 3 years of imprisonment with a 5 year suspension of the sentence for Mr. Fujibayashi.

From Foreign News Sources

March 19
An explosion occurred at a Sufi shrine in the town of Fatahpur in Baluchistan, south-western Pakistan. Approximately forty persons died, and around one hundred sustained injuries, with most of the victims belonging to the Shia sect of Islam. Due to a religious event, a large number of people had gathered at the shrine at the time of the explosion.

April 2
Pope John Paul II. passed away. On April 8, a funeral ceremony was performed on Saint Peter's Square. The ceremony was attended by 4500 leading figures and clergymen. Around two million ordinary citizens had gathered on and around the square.

April 12
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the highest Islamic authority in Saudi Arabia announced that it is not permissible by Islamic law to force women into a marriage or to prevent them from marrying someone they have chosen themselves.

April 27
Seven Christian clergymen belonging to China's underground church were arrested. The seven are members of the cultivation group of Bishop JIA Zhiguo of the Zhending diocese. Bishop Jia is under police observation and has been prohibited from engaging in any form of religious activity.

Triggered by an article in the American newsmagazine Newsweek reporting the desecration of a copy of the Quran by American soldiers, the largest anti-American demonstration since the fall of the Taliban regime was held in Afghanistan. Sixteen people died in clashes in 20 cities across the country. Thereafter, Newsweek retracted its article, apologizing for misleading information and the incident was resolved.

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