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Genuine Peace Arises from the Heart of Each Person

The war commenced with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and before its end was in sight Israel launched its inhumane attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip. On both sides however, there is as yet no sign of a settlement. Events such as these are occurring all over the world, and they make us wonder as to how stupid human beings can be.

Japan Today

Japan now appears to be headed towards war at an accelerated pace. Defense spending has doubled from 1% to 2% of the GDP, the nation now is in possession of enemy base attack capabilities, and the Self-Defense Forces are being shifted to the southwest. This obviously is due to the Japanese government’s policy of strengthening the Self-Defense Forces in the Nansei Islands, that stretch from the southern tip of Kyushu to Taiwan. In other words, it is nothing less than the militarization and fortification of Okinawa by the US and Japanese governments, and the backdrop to this is the contingency encircling Taiwan due to the military rise of China. Okinawa comprises less than 1% of Japan’s land area, and yet it houses 70% of the U.S. military facilities in Japan, as well as bases of the Self-Defense Forces. What matters is not so much the fact that U.S. military bases exist in Okinawa, but rather, that Okinawa exists within the U.S. military bases.

Starting with the Ground Self-Defense Force station on Yonaguni Island in 2016, bases were opened on Miyako Island and Amami Oshima in 2019, and on Ishigaki Island as well in March 2024. Also, missile units and other units have been newly organized and relocated. Last October, the Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Marine Corps deployed large-scale training exercises in Kyushu and Okinawa for combat shooting and transportation of injured soldiers, on the belief that they would be defending remote islands. However, such armed deployments could be clearly construed as occasions to create enemies. If war were to break out in the Nansei Islands, it is expected that sooner or later the U.S. military and Self-Defense Forces on the mainland will participate in the war.

The U.S.-made Osprey is a very problematic item, and the total number of Osprey aircraft procured by the U.S. is 464. Although many nations displayed an interest in introducing the Osprey when it was first developed, Japan was the only nation that eventually purchased one. Japan purchased a total of 17 aircraft, each costing an estimated 10 billion yen or more.

The Prayer of Pope Francis

In Hungary last year, during Holy Mass in Budapest, Pope Francis prayed that this world would be “a world full of hope for the future and not war, life and not death, and brotherhood and not walls.” As His Holiness declared, true peace begins within the heart of each person. We should first of all desire that our own hearts be at peace, for only then can we open our hearts and listen to the words of others. Then, we should wish for peace at home and peace in the world. No matter how large the radius is we can certainly create peace, if the words of the “Prince of Peace” (Is 9:5) were to be located at the center.

Peace is not created by any force of arms. War is a deception, and so is international security based on fear.

Life and Peace

True peace arises when each life is valued personally, and all of us without exception are invited to share in that peace. True peace does not mean nothing happens, or that power and might are perilously balanced, or that a dictator rules over all. There is a much more positive significance here. In the words, “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19, 21, 26), is there not an echo of shalom (God is with us) behind this “peace” (eirēnē)? We also have the words of Isaiah, “Do not fear…I will be with you” (Is. 43:1-2).

Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians by saying, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:3), and Augustine declares, “Peace is tranquillitas ordinis (tranquility of order). To quote Mother Teresa, “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; and the fruit of service is peace,” and to quote Padre Pio, “Peace is the simplicity of spirit, the serenity of conscience, the tranquility of the soul and the bond of love.”

Peace be with you.