Peace building through interactions between citizen

Program Background

The relationship between Japan and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(North Korea) has been continuously getting worse because of North Korea’s nuclear testing, Japan’s strengthening of economic sanctions, and North Korea’s disbandment of the Special Investigation Committee. We Japanese NGOs have been continuing to do activities in order to connect citizens of both countries and contribute to stability and peace in the region of Northeast Asia where we are living.

 

Drawing a life-sized self-portrait with a message “Please visit us at DPRK and let us play together!”

Since starting activities in 1996, as a participating organization in the “Relief Campaign Committee for Children, Japan (RCCJ),” we have helped provide food assistance to North Korean children, natural energy assistance to rural areas, and emergency relief to regions severely affected by natural disasters. In recent years, providing this support in North Korea has been difficult due to a deadlocked relationship between Japan and North Korea, worsening mutual sentiments, and the economic sanctions imposed by Japanese government.

We have held children’s art exhibitions annually since 2001, in order to preserve a channel of communication for solving problems. Through the exhibition and exchange of pictures and messages, drawn or written by children living in East Asia such as Japan, the two Koreas, and China, we aim to promote mutual understanding between the four nations. These events are run by an executive committee consisting of representatives from nine organizations in Japan.

 

The children’s art exhibition at Tokyo

This year, the 70th year since the end of the World War II, the RCCJ issued “the statement by citizens on this occasion of the 70th year since the end of the World War II.” Although discord was still distinct in the region of Northeast Asia, we confirmed that Japan would take the initiative in learning a lesson from the past and linking it to the peaceful future, and that they would overcome exclusionist movements in Japan.

On the site, we visited a communal farm in Thaekam, where the RCCJ had provided panels for solar power generation in the past. We carried out an investigation survey regarding their operational status and the necessity for repairs.

Report by young members of the organizing committee at the Tokyo exhibition

Regarding interactions made through the children’s exhibitions, we held workshops for exhibitions in Yokohama, Samrye/Goseong (South Korea), Pyongyang, Yanji (China), and Osaka. In the workshops, it was planned to draw a “life-sized self-portrait” and send it to friends in East Asia, about 30 pieces were completed. Some of them were introduced in overseas workshops and exhibited in Osaka, Saitama, and Tokyo. In each workshop, university students actively participated in volunteering on the operator’s side and held report meetings to introduce this project.

(source: “JVC Annual Report – 2015 report”)

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