This week’s #asiaforlifepodcast is covering stories from the 2019 Japan March for Life. Listen to the podcast here:

LISTEN: Japan March for Life—The Light is Not Shining…Yet

[This podcast episode was edited from a video, shot after this year’s March for Life in Tokyo, Japan. Original video on YouTube at the AsiaForLife Channel. The video was shot at the same time that a record period of sunlessness ended in Tokyo and the Kantō region of Japan.]

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So we had the march. And it was great to see the families, and people from other cities in Japan–including a big Brazilian community that came up from another city.

And yeah, I had great conversations. And it was the biggest March for Life so far, which is great. I don’t know the final number, but it was a few hundred people.

There’s something else that happened that day.

It was July 15th. Since Japan started recording its sunshine–the amount of sunshine each day–July 15th set a record for the longest that Japan has gone without seeing the sun, or at least not seeing much of it.

Since…like, in the past three weeks, the sun has only shown for a total of several hours. And so, it’s there. It’s up there.

it’s breaking through right now

[00:48] Oh…I think it actually might be shining right now. I think that counts–even though it’s cloudy, it’s breaking through right now, I think. So actually, I haven’t seen that, like hardly at all since I’ve been here.

And so I just wanted to make a point how we need to let our light shine. Because when there’s not sunshine, it causes problems. Like, it causes depression. Like, when there’s not enough sunlight, people get more depressed, vegetables don’t grow properly, prices go up. That’s what the Japanese government is worried about right now, is how it’ll affect crops.

But yeah. It also affects people’s mental health. And, I don’t know if this is related, but on my way back to my house here, after the March for Life was over, that night, I was on the bus and I overheard two teen girls talking about their depression, and how they wanted to find a guy who loves them, and how they were depressed, and didn’t want to seek help.

I have to say something

[01:47] And they were talking about how they cut themselves, and how they and their friends cut themselves, to relieve the pain basically of not being loved and being depressed. And how they didn’t see the point in trying to get professional help, because it just seems it didn’t matter and wouldn’t work in the end. And, so I thought–I have to say something! I have to say something.

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Okay. I needed to take a break to charge my phone battery, and I also took a walk around and got lunch, and I actually went jogging nearby. It’s a lovely little neighborhood, kind of north-west Tokyo, sort of. And I’m staying at a Christian hostel here. And, yeah I love it here. And also it’s funny…the family who runs the hostel actually just had a baby like the day before I arrived.

But yeah. So I was making a point about letting your light shine. Jesus said we are the light of the world, and if we don’t let our light shine then people are not going to see the light.

So you know…the pro-life thing–like the dignity of every human being from the beginning to the end, and this idea that we should not kill anyone, like, we should not kill any innocent person who’s made in the image and likeness of God—I think Christians have an especially–like the church, the body of Christ—has an especially strong perception, awareness of that reality. And so if we’re not willing to speak that truth, a lot of people in the world are not going to see it. So it’s really important.

And that’s–I think that’s basically all I have to say.

I noticed the tall suicide rails

[03:14] It was funny…I was just taking a jog, and I ran past the railroad track over the bridge at the local train station and I noticed the tall “suicide rails” which are on a lot of bridges to make sure people don’t jump off…of the bridge in front of a train, which is a common suicide method in Japan.

It just made me think that’s…like that’s smart. That’s a good idea. But it’s obviously really tragic and sad and terrible that like, that has to be done. And I was just also thinking about how there need to be guardrails in society, both just privately, like people encouraging each other not to kill themselves, for instance. And also in law and also in…yeah, just the way that we treat each other.

Like the girls I talked to on the bus ride home from the March for Life a couple of nights ago. Like, I was willing to say something, because the situation—it looked pretty obvious they were heading in a really dangerous direction.

And I think saying something made a difference for them.

So, Japan of course has a major suicide problem. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still bad. And society is taking more seriously. The government is taking it seriously. You know, companies build suicide rails and stuff like that. And that does make a difference.

It’s obviously not the the ultimate solution, which is, you know, people actually love each other, and respect each other’s dignity and all that. Things will get better, when people know that they are loved.

As far as abortion…this is a weird subject, it’s a difficult subject. It always will be–it’s never not been. But I think we’re getting better. I think that churches are getting better at knowing how to talk about abortion, and knowing how to help women and families. I think churches just in general like, whatever denominational background–we have practice. We are getting better at this [in the past few decades].

The March for Life is one important part of the pro-life movement

[05:02] And we need to continue to share the message, in every kind of different context. And I think the March for Life is an important…is one important part of the pro-life movement.

And I really hope to see pastors talking about life and death issues with confidence. With compassion–obviously, more than anything, with compassion. But also with clarity and confidence. Because, again, if churches can’t do that, who can?

I’m not even sure if I’m going to post this video. But this is what I’ve been thinking about this week, obviously.

sunshine in Tokyo no filter neededThis photo was taken on July 17, at the end of a record-setting 20-day period during which almost no rays of sunlight broke through the clouds over Tokyo.

And, right now the sun looks like it’s half-covered, half-out. So I don’t know if…it might be another low sunshine day today. I’m not sure.

But, it’s up to us as the church to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. That’s what this is all about in the end anyway. All right. God bless you, from Tokyo.