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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Women's Gathering in Surrey on November 4th

(This is an English summary of my Japanese report of the November 4thSurrey meeting.)

On Saturday November 4th, 13 women gathered at Ms. Mariko Yamamoto's home to talk about current issues in Japan and beyond.

This is the fourth of such an event in Surrey. As soon as I entered Mariko-san's home, I felt this incredible energy and warmth from this group of 13 women. Some of them had attended the previous events and others were the first-timers, so at the beginning I was not too surewhat the participants would expect of this gathering.

As I invited everyone to introduce themselves and share their expectations and questions, we naturally flowed into a stimulating discussion on topics from the revision of the Fundamental Law ofEducation, the issue of Hinomaru (the national flag of Japan) andKimigayo (the national anthem of Japan) issue at Japanese schools, PrimeMinister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, to the dangers of DU (DepletedUranium) weapons and global warming.

Some of the key interests expressed by the participants were:
  • I want to explore what I can do as a mother.
  • I want to start by knowing things I don't know yet.
  • I would like to explore what I can pass on to the next generation.
  • I am interested in food safety and natural healing.

I showed the pictures and videos that I took when I visited Yasukuni Shrine on the morning of August 15th when then-PM Mr. Koizumi was there, to show how the right-wingers were freely expressing their opinions with large flags and banners right inthe middle of Yasukuni Shrine whereas those who oppose Koizumi's visitwere banned from the premises.

At the end I showed the DVD that I obtained at the 3rd ICBUW(International Coalition To Ban Uranium Weapons) Conference held inHiroshima from August 3rd to 6th, 'Unknown Terror of DU - Iraqi ChildrenNow-'. Many participants commented that they had been informed of therisks of DU weapons but they only knew the scale and seriousness of the damage when they saw this video.

I would like thank Mariko Yamamoto for hosting such an engaging eventfull of learning and meaningful conversation, Kyoko Hara and Seiko Roberts for co-organizing this event, and Yumiko Kikuno for coming with me to help with the event. Thank you to all who participated in this event on the very rainy Saturday afternoon. We should definitely get together on a regular basis and maybe at the next meeting develop some concrete action plan to help the world.

Love and Peace,

Satoko Norimatsu

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