Conference report 3: Witnessing to Hope, 13-20th August 2000, Caux, Switzerland

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Politicians' Round Table

A "Politicians' Round Table" took place 14th-16th August within the Agenda for Reconciliation conference. Participating were present and past parliamentarians and public officials from 22 countries. Their discussions focussed on three main issues: the situation in North-East Asia, particularly the possibility and implications of Korean re-unification; justice in international economic relations; and the prospects of reconciliation work in the Balkans.

Among the participants were three members of the Japanese Diet (Parliament), including the General-Secretary of the Democratic Party; a former Korean ambassador to Japan; a council member of the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU); a director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC; the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Europe and Central Asia; the Governor-General of Jamaica; the Emir of Kano, Nigeria, and delegates coming directly from the Somali peace talks in Djibouti.
Although representing a wide variety of political views and differing concerns, they were united in their conviction that political measures need a moral and spiritual basis. Trust between the nations of North-East Asia or the Balkans cannot be built without repentance and restitution. Justice in economic relations cannot be realised unless globalisation is subjected to moral correctives and concern for the weak.

Kazuo Tanikawa, MP, veteran parliamentarian from Hiroshima who has held two cabinet posts, the ministries of Justice and Defence, gave a seminar commemorating the 55th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on his city. He quoted the inscription on the cenotaph erected on the bomb-site in Hiroshima: "Rest in peace. We will not repeat the same mistake." This text was written after the Mayor of Hiroshima had visited Caux in 1950.

Asian participants at thePoliticians' Round Table were: Yukihisa Fujita, Policy Assistant to leader of Democratic Party, Japan; Junfa Zhu, Chinese Association For International Understanding (CAFIU), China; Horiyuki Moriyama, Sakai City Councillor, Japan; Kim Tae-Zhee, Korea, former Ambassador to Japan and Germany; Dr Shalkhan Murmoo, MP, India; Kazuo Tanikawa, MP, Japan; Chea Vannath, President, Centre for Social Development, Cambodia; Zhu Lingling, Deputy Director, CAFIU Research centre, China; Yukika Sohma, Chairperson, Japan-Korea Women's Friendship Association, Japan; and Takako Sakaki, Chief Director, Saitama International Friendship and Information Cooperative, Japan.

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