The decision was made as the council began reducing staff and clarifying
At an executive meeting in Tokyo on May 27, the National Christian Council (NCC)
in Japan said it hopes to “participate in the work of restoring the affected areas
from the East Japan Earthquake in solidarity with Christian churches and Christian
organizations in Japan and abroad.” The office will employ a small staff and plans to
work until the end of the NCC general assembly’s term next March.
Attendees at a two-day Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Ecumenical Solidarity
Meeting in Seoul, South Korea on May 6 and 7 urged churches in Japan and the NCC
to establish a consortium to respond to the “triple disaster.”
A consortium can’t be formed immediately, explained Isamu Koshiishi of the NCC,
adding, “What is within our capacity is to mediate and help [the relief operations].”
Hiroko Ueda, the NCC’s acting office general secretary, told ENInews that the
decision was “a small first step” compared to what was expected by the Seoul
meeting. “We cannot make our organization larger when we have to make it
smaller,” she said. Ueda told ENInews the requested consortium “would require an
organizational structure more than twice as large as our current one.”
“We have received many offers for relief operations, but we were not prepared
enough,” said George W. Gish of the NCC.
The NCC and the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network called upon
member churches to form sister church relationships with small and independent
churches in affected areas that lack denominational support.
As of May 27, 15,247 people have been reported killed as a result of the earthquake.
8,593 were missing and 106,699 buildings had collapsed, according to Japan’s
National Police Agency.