International Institute for the Study of Religions
Religious Information Research Center
"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.
Following the completion of the database version of Taishō shinshŭ Daizōkyō, an assembly honoring its completion was held in Tokyo. This project was originally undertaken in 1994 by the Daizōkyō Database Research Group (represented by Masahiro Shimoda) and, having received the support of Buddhist scholars and the Buddhist community at large, it garnered donations totaling 290,000,000 yen and 240,000,000 yen in research funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
A mass honoring the tenth anniversary of the passing of the former Mother Teresa (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) was held at Archdiocese of Tokyo St. Mary's Cathedral.
Led by Nichiren clergy, the T.M Good Medicine Center made a visit to Cambodia to attend a signing ceremony for the construction of a school. Additionally, the same Center held a ceremony donating bicycles and appliances.
The Tokyo District Court delivered judgment legalizing the secession process of Keta Shrine of Ishikawa Prefecture from the Association of Shinto Shrines.
At a panel involved in the Japanese Association of Religious Studies Annual Conference held at Rissho University, there was a discussion of plans for the creation a system to certify individuals as "Specialists in Religious Culture" (tentative title).
Nagasaki Prefecture announced that the Nagasaki Churches and other Christian sites have been officially included in a tentative list by the UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee.
At an appeal to a suit brought against the Unification Church and its believers wherein a Tokyo woman and former member, who was believed to have been forced to make donations and subjected to a number of threats such as "Donate or you will go to hell," sought reparations for damages in the amount of 547,000,000 yen, the Tokyo Supreme Court ordered that damages in the amount of 276,200,000 yen be paid.
The Japanese Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of Yokoyama Makoto who based on the murder convictions of a lower court is already set to receive the death penalty for carrying out the subway sarin gas attacks. Furthermore, on August 23, a petition on the behalf of the defendant calling for a change in the verdict was also dismissed confirming the death penalty.
Asakusa Shrine (Taitō District, Tokyo) and Asakusa Shrine's association of supporters decided not to include the carrying of the mikoshi in next year's Sanja Matsuri on account of the fact that, despite its prohibition, one of the carriers mounted the mikoshi.
At a public debate hosted by the Japan National Press Club before the Liberal Democratic Party's general elections, Fukuda Yasuo mentioned that the construction of a national facility to honor the war dead was not currently a priority.
In Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, a firefight erupted between police and students of an Islamic theological school in the vicinity of Lal Masjid, a mosque controlled by Muslim extremists, with casualties mounting on both sides.
China's Nation Religious Affairs Bureau introduced a system requiring application and approval for the reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhist tulku. Authentication of any tulku will now require a certificate issued by the Buddhist Association of China.
The Russian Orthodox Church honored the passing of sixty years since the former Soviet Union established its nuclear forces and, at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, took a position that allowed for use nuclear weapons for the purpose of "deterrence or reprisal."
The British Government, along with a number of religious denominations, produced a joint statement declaring plans to increase the number of public schools with religious affiliations. Presently, out the 21,000 schools throughout England, there are 6,850 schools which maintain a religious footing.
The United States Department of Defense released its annual report concerning the freedom of religion in various countries throughout the world. Concerning the restriction of religious activities, the incarceration of religious practitioners and other forms of religious oppression, Uzbekistan, North Korea, China, Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan where singled out as nations of particular concern.