"Reiterating strong support to the Tibet cause, the members from all political spectrum of Japan Wednesday organised a special conference to announce the formation of All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet at the Parliament building," according to the Office of Tibet in Tokyo, Japan.
Notwithstanding chilly Wednesday weather and a very early 7:40 am meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on December 14, members of the Japanese Parliament made their presence to express strong support for the just cause of Tibet. "The members who attended the launch of the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet include 58 MPs from the House of Representatives and 24 MPs from the House of Councillors," said Lobsang Choedak, who was spokesperson of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Shimomura Hakubun, Member of House of Representatives and former Minister of Education, thanked the Japanese Parliamentarians for their concerted efforts to form the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet. He recalled that the idea to form this Tibet support group was mooted during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Japan around five years ago.
Mr Hakubun, who is also the President of All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet, specially thanked the Japanese Parliamentarians for expressing strong support by hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to Japan. His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 16 November visited the Japanese Parliament and interacted with 229 parliamentarians from different political parties on the theme "Tibet and Japan" in the global world.
Mr Shimomura recalled his visit to Dharamsala as part of a Japanese Parliamentary delegation to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama and learn about the Tibetan administration in exile.
He said the Tibetans have been following peace and non-violence as their guiding principles in the last thousands of years of their history. Tibetan Buddhist culture is very relevant and has immense potential to contribute to peace and non-violence to the world which is facing war and violent conflicts.
Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, a Japanese journalist and president of think tank, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, congratulated and thanked the Japanese Parliament members for forming the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet.
Ms Sakurai emphasised the need to support the cause of the Tibetan people. "The culture and Buddhist religion of Tibet has tremendous potential and relevance to the promotion of peace and non-violence in the world."
She praised the support extended by the Indian government towards the education of Tibetans in exile so that they can preserve their culture and religion.
She said Japan, which shares same Buddhist religion followed by the Tibetan people, has the immense potential to support the cause of Tibet. She spoke about the support extended by educational institutes in terms of providing of scholarships to Tibetan students to study here. We can also provide Tibetan students to study in different educational fields in Japan. Our support for Tibetans would contribute to our efforts to uphold the principle of peace and non-violence, she added.
In his address, Mr Lungtok, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Japan, extended his profound gratitude on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people to members of the Japanese Parliament for their efforts in supporting the Tibetan cause. He thanked the Japanese MPs for gathering in huge numbers to express their strong support by hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to Japan.
He said Tibetans, under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, have been making continued efforts to resolve the Tibet issue through dialogue with the Chinese government, adding that Tibet continues to face threat to their cultural and religious identity under the Chinese rule.
He said support extended by Japan and other countries where Tibetans live in exile have been very effective in keeping the issue of Tibet alive.
The Office of Tibet distributed three books on Tibet – (1) 50 Years in Exile (2) Glimpses on the History of Tibet and (3) Tibet and Dalai Lama – to the Japanese Parliamentarians during the meeting.