On Monday, 24 June, Master Ryuho Okawa, founder and president of HRP gave a lecture, Buddha’s Dharma and the Spirit of Hard Work, at ANA Crowne Plaza Chitose, to an audience of 1,100.
On the current Japanese pension issue, which has been making headlines recently, Master Okawa commented that, with one-fourth of the population soon to be over 65 years old and the life expectancy of Japanese people assumed to reach 100 years by the end of the 21st century, “It would be difficult to stay unemployed and without income if you have 40 years left to live after retirement,” and that they need to change their way of thinking.
He also mentioned that, recently, Japanese weekly magazines have been featuring articles on pension with such topics as “Is it better to receive pension or keep working?” and said that the distress of elderly people is that they become ill and unable to work in the last ten years of their life. “However,” he said, “my wish is, apart from the amount of income, is to try to work as much as I can and be useful to society. That would make me happy.” He then presented various episodes of miracles, such as illnesses being cured, including one of himself where he recovered from myocardial infarction when he was 47 and delivering more than 2,000 lectures since then. He then encouraged the audience to prepare for their second and third lives, saying, “Let us stop thinking based on determinism. Please always keep in mind that you can surely make progress if you see good points in your life. Please think, ‘I can still do something even if a part of my body is disabled’ and ‘I want to be healthy and help others even just a little.’”
Further, Master Okawa gave a proposal to introduce immigration as a way to overcome the issue of the pension system. He said, “Teach patriotism and Japanese language to the immigrants. Immigrants can complement the working population and pay taxes if they can speak Japanese and wish to serve for Japan. I want those who are over 65 to teach Japanese language to foreigners as their job.” He went on to say, “You can form a bond between people of different generations when you become a member of a religious community. Just having someone visit the elderly once a month can serve as a safety net.”
Regarding HRP, Master Okawa said, “HRP was founded 10 years ago and has been saying the right things, nevertheless, it has received headwind for a long time.” He then criticized the incumbent members of the Japanese parliament, claiming that they consider it meaningless to do something that does not win them any votes. Most of them have so far made no comments on the protest in Hong Kong. As the reason for this, Master Okawa explained that the ruling party fears of a loss in income that may come from a decline in the number of Chinese tourists. “There will also be a problem,” he added, “if Xi Jinping, who is expected to visit Japan as a national guest next year, complains as a consequence of Japanese members of parliament criticizing China. Moreover, the opposition parties do not want to dispute with China, since they have been advocating anti-war and protecting the existing constitution of Japan.”
On Hong Kong, Master Okawa said, “Hong Kong is an international and financial city. It is important to have such an international city with freedom, democracy and faith in China. HRP has been saying the right things and has power.” By referring to the fact that the Japanese government has issued a visa to a Uyghur activist, who has been advocating liberation of Uyghur from China, despite Xi Jinping’s claim not to allow the activist entry into Japan at the time of G20, Master Okawa said, “Our pressure on the Japanese government has been working. It is the power of politics and religion to right the wrong.”
He then mentioned the incident, in which a Japanese oil tanker was attacked and went up in flames, while Prime Minister Abe was visiting Iran and was having a talk with the Supreme Leader to arbitrate the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. Also, President Trump called off an attack on Iran that he once approved, 10 minutes before it was executed, after an American surveillance drone had been shot down by Iran. On that, Master Okawa said, “It is very likely that a military clash will occur. The U.S. is in a sense provoking Iran by flying drones there. The U.S. may see Iran as the same kind of country as North Korea, however, they are not the same, as far as I see from the spiritual point of view. Iran is a highly religious nation that is different from dictatorial nations, such as North Korea and China. HRP considers President Trump’s perspective overall to be fine, but he does not have enough understanding on religion regarding Iran. We believe that the U.S. should not be in such a hurry to attack Iran.”
Based on the fact that the energy self-sufficiency of Japan is at a few percent now, Master Okawa urged that restarting nuclear power plants is indispensable, arguing, “80 percent of crude oil brought into Japan comes through the Strait of Hormuz. So, Japan won’t be able to import oil, should a war occur in the Middle East. Japan has returned to burning fossil fuels, especially after the Great East Japan Earthquake, nevertheless, oil tankers easily burn and the Japanese Self-Defense Force cannot fully protect the tankers. Most industries in Japan will come to a dead end, unless Japan generates energy by nuclear power. Japan will enter the age of maglev trains in 10 years, but maglev trains consume 10 times the energy of bullet trains.” He then took up the precedent by a Japanese court as an example, a case that ruled, “restarting of nuclear power plants cannot be accepted unless they are equipped with the facilities that can withstand such incidents as a clash by a large aircraft and a terrorist attack.” Master Okawa said, “We can only do our best at the time of a gigantic natural disaster and war. Instead, it is better to prepare for the risk in peacetime. Nuclear power plants should be restarted.” In addition, he argued that Hokkaido must make efforts to increase its food production and food productivity, based on the fact that the food self-sufficiency of Japan is under 40 percent and that one billion people in the world are suffering from hunger.
As for the Japan Russia Peace Treaty, he commented on the upcoming Japan-Russia Summit, saying that the least Japan could do is to not make Russia a potential enemy. Both Japan and Russia can come up with countermeasures against China just by confirming that World War II between Japan Russia has ended and by both nations not attacking each other. In case Japan falls into a crisis, Russia can be an energy supplier, since it is a resource power, rich in natural gas and oil.
Lastly, Master Okawa concluded the lecture by stating, “While HRP has been advocating new policies, both the ruling and opposition parties have not presented any. I have been presenting new policies, looking ahead into the future. So, please do not forget the spirit of hard work. Do your best to advocate our policies.”
Ms. Ryoko Shaku, the party leader of HRP, greeted the audience after the lecture, and said, “While a war is imminent in the Middle East, we have an ‘entertainment diplomacy’ in Japan. But we need to spread the freedom of Hong Kong and Taiwan into China and save Islamic nations in the Middle East. Our activity is an activity to save not only Japan, but also the people of the world. We must have a great ambition, ‘be ambitious!’ That’s the true value of the people of Hokkaido.”