In Tokyo, Princess Akiko struck the peace bell at the ceremony held at Zojoji Temple. After the bell-beating ceremony, Sukehiro Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Committee for International Peace Day, explained the purpose of the event. Then, Sen Genshitsu, president of the United Nations Association of Japan and the head of Urasenke, and Yoshiko Higashikuni, Chairman of the World Federation Culture and Education Promotion Council, gave a speech, and Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government, gave a congratulatory address. Actress Mikako Yoshida then read a message from Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Please clickhere. (Reporter: Yuuki Watanabe)
This “bell-ringing ceremony to pray for peace” was also held at Expo Park (Osaka), Peace Bell (Hiroshima), Urakami Catholic Church (Nagasaki), Iwashimizu Hachimangu (Kyoto), Rissho Koseikai Cathedral (Tokyo), Mt. Hiei, Enryakuji Temple (Shiga), Omoto Humanity Association (Kyoto), Okinawa Memorial Hall (Okinawa) and so on.
After the bell-ringing, Sukehiro Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Committee for International Peace Day, explained the purpose of the event, stating “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. In addition, a pandemic of the new coronavirus infection has occurred, and now is the time for the world to solidarity. Therefore, on the occasion of International Peace Day on September 21, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, I would like to go beyond the boundaries of various denominations, and ring bells, to pray for world peace, and pledge world solidarity.”
Next, Sen Genshitsu, president of the United Nations Association of Japan, said “I am very grateful to have Princess Akiko here today. Also, many guests, including Ms.Yoshiko Higashikuni and Governor Koike. Princess Akiko, thank you very much for your attendance and for making the first shot. As Mr. Hasegawa said earlier, it is very significant to ring this bell. It is a blow to pray for world peace and human peace. I sincerely hope that this bell will spread widely.”
Next, H.E. Yoshiko Higashikube, Chairman of the World Federation Cultural Education Promotion Council, said, “I am very pleased that this ceremony was held today with all the people who gathered from various places. The activities of the World Federation begin with the awareness that each of us as a member of the international community. The purpose of this association is to reaffirm and widely disseminate that culture and education will be “a guide to peace.” I am honored to have the opportunity to have Princess Akiko attend us today and gain an understanding of our daily activities. Her Royal Highness has been studying international culture and has been carrying out activities to convey Japanese culture to children, who will lead the future for many years. We sincerely pay tribute to the work of Her Royal Highness. Chiyoji Nakagawa, a director of the United Nations Association of Japan, was the foundation of the ceremony for the Peace Bell at the United Nations Headquarters. ‘I want to make something that resonates with the people of the world so that war will never happen again. It is a peace bell made of sweaty coins used by people who wish for world peace. I would like to present it to the UN headquarters and I want people to call for their feelings for world peace by making it sound high. It is my belief that the sound of the bell evokes a feeling of peace.’ It was cast and presented to the United Nations in 1945. Earlier, we pledged peace and solidarity with the world together with everyone in the country. I sincerely hope that this activity will continue to spread to as many people as possible, and that people around the world will continue to work hand in hand for peace.”
Next, actress Mikako Yoshida read the message of Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. “It is my honor to be a strong contributor to the United Nations system that supports peace and development, including guests, stakeholders, Japanese political and spiritual leaders. I would like to express my respect again. The United Nations is for multilateral cooperation, and its support is high, meaning that all Japanese people are involved in its principles and objectives. It has been highly evaluated. On International Peace Day, I am glad to know that Japanese people are holding bell-beating ceremonies all over Japan, including Zojyoji Temple in Tokyo. As symbolized by that the Peace Bell was donated to the United Nations, the sound of the bell deeply reflects the Japanese people`s strong desire for peace. This ceremony combines the future we desire and the aspirations we need for the United Nations. We welcome you to join us in this year’s United Nations 75th Anniversary Ceremony. We hope that the teachers will deepen their understanding of the main purpose of the United Nations and the Japanese people. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the initiative of the civil society organizations.
Finally, Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo, said, “Today, in the presence of Princess Akiko, a bell-ringing ceremony to pray for peace nationwide was held on International Peace Day.” Seventy-five years have passed since the end of the previous war. During this time, Japan has consistently followed the path of a peaceful nation thanks to the efforts of its predecessors who vowed to fight. Unfortunately, when we look at the world at large, regional conflicts and terrorisms are still occurring all over the world. Under such circumstances, we are also facing a new threat; infection of new coronavirus. Now is the time for us to work hand in hand with each other to confront this common enemy of humankind. Earlier, I struck a bell with everyone praying that the world should work together to bring the new Corona infection to an end. We struck a bell together. Even in Tokyo, we will continue to do our utmost to take measures against new coronavirus. And next year, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held and Tokyo is the host city. As the Governor of Tokyo to lead this peace festival to success, we will strongly show the proof to the world that human beings have overcome the new coronavirus infection, and will further develop this Tokyo as the capital of Japan which is a peaceful nation. To conclude, I would like to extend my deepest respect to the executive committee chairman Hasegawa and all the people concerned for their efforts in holding the “Bell-beating Ceremony to Pray for Peace Nationwide on International Peace Day”. (Yuuki Watanabe)
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