Displaying items by tag: Japan
The director of the Olympics opening ceremony was dismissed for making jokes in the 1990s about the Holocaust. Earlier this week, a composer quit the ceremony team after it emerged he had bullied classmates with disabilities at school. In March the Olympics' creative chief quit after suggesting that plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe could appear as an ‘Olympig’. In February the head of the organising committee had to step down after he made inappropriate remarks about women. The scandals have increased massive unease about the Games. A recent poll found 55% of Japanese were opposed to holding the Games, fearing it could become a coronavirus super-spreader event. Already, organisers are dealing with rising Covid cases. Dozens involved in the Games, including officials and athletes, have tested positive. An increase in cases among Japan's population - only a third of whom have been vaccinated - has led to a state of emergency being declared for the duration of the Games.
As all eyes turn to Tokyo for the Olympics and Paralympics, Japanese Christians are inviting the global Church to unite for one million hours of prayer for the spiritual transformation of their nation. An international prayer movement (Japan1Million) is led by the Japan international Sports Partnership and the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association. Their partnership is driven by a vision to see the Church in Japan grow to ten million people by 2024. Working towards that vision, they had hoped to reach a million Japanese people during their Olympic outreach year. Covid closed those doors, but one door remained open; the door to prayer. With less than 1% of its population of 126 million attending church, the Japanese are the world’s second largest unreached people group. Most people in Japan have not been to church, read the Bible or encountered any Christians. Committed prayer is needed for a significant spiritual breakthrough.
We are pleased to bring you this July 2021 edition of IPC Connections.
Our Editorial article this month is an astounding report from the Passover to Pentecost Group! These partnered events, missions and media projects have collectively seen 20 million new Jesus followers added to the Church since last year. This 2021 Review details massive numbers coming to faith in Jesus Christ, Gospel movements emerging in the nations, and disciple-making churches being planted in unreached areas. Let’s be in prayer for these huge numbers of people of all ages coming to faith, that they will grow into spiritual fullness in Christ. (Col 2:6-7)
Read about the 1 Million Hours of Prayer for Japan and the Olympic Games initiative that we are jointly launching with JiSP (Japan International Sports Partnership), in our second editorial article. Sign up for the Prayer Guide.
We would welcome you to join us for the launch of the 1st FRIDAY GO PRAY online prayer event on Friday 6th August at 6AM Pacific time during which we will be Praying for the continued spiritual harvest AND for Japan and the missional opportunities that the Olympic Games present.
We are not spotlighting a team member this month to make space for the Editorial article. We would however covet your prayers for the whole team right now. The IPC Leadership Team and Board’s representation spans the continents. They are each involved in a local church as well as ministering nationally and internationally. Please pray for strength, good health, equipping and protection for them and their loved ones, as they continue to serve, often at personal cost, during these challenging times.
Thank you for continuing to partner with us in mobilising and informing united prayer across nations, denominations, movements, and generations for the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
May we express grateful thanks to Andy Page and the IPC Editorial Team who put this email together each month.
Jason Hubbard - Director
International Prayer Connect
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Disclaimer… The views and opinions expressed in IPC Connections and the articles on our website are those of individuals and our partner organisations. They do not necessarily represent the policies or views of IPC or its individual leaders.
We aim to respect the diversity within the prayer movement and yet embrace our unified calling to mobilise prayer for the nations. (2 Chron 7:14) If you wish to discuss the appropriateness of any articles, please contact us.
Christians in Japan are asking the world for one million hours of prayer for their nation throughout the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. International Prayer Connect are partnering with them to get this message out and are inviting you to please pray about how you might be able to take part – by pledging at least one hour.
The Japan international Sports Partnership (JiSP) is calling on churches, individuals and families across the world to unite in prayer for Japan as their country takes centre stage from Friday 23rd of July.
Pastor Keishi Ikeda who leads JiSP in this movement is driven by a vision to see the Japanese Church grow to 10 million people by 2024. “Imagine ten million Christians in Japan...This would change Japan. And not just Japan, we could send teams from Japan into other countries that many can’t get into as our passport is powerful. This is a wave; we need to ride it,” said Ikeda.
The current reality is that the Japanese people are the world’s second largest un-reached people group. Church attendance hovers around 4 in 1000 - with only one being male. Nothing short of a miracle will awaken Japan. We serve the God who has promised miracles. We believe an awakening is coming.
Edwin Orr the great scholar on revivals said, “Whenever there is an awakening there is evidence of three things. People coming together “in one accord,” people hearing the Good News in their own “heart language” and a deep, ongoing passion and commitment to prayer.
As Japan steps into the spotlight these Olympic Games, Christians in Japan are calling on their global brothers and sisters to sign up for at least one hour of prayer.
The Olympics and Paralympics will run for 30 days. If 3,000 Churches globally committed 10 people from their church to pray one hour over these 30 days, we would achieve 900,000 hours – very close to our goal!
Japanese Christians like Pastor Keishi are willing to do anything to see their land coming alive spiritually with 10 million believers by 2024. It is not just about hosting an Olympic Games.
Pastor Keishi said, “We had hoped to reach a million people during our Olympic outreach. With Covid that has not been possible. Can we turn that dream into a million hours of prayers from both the Japanese Church and from across the world? What a gift to Japan from the global Church - a million hours of prayer for God’s Glory to fall upon our land..”
More info and Sign Up to pray on the website at: https://www.japan1million.com/
Each of the 30 days of the Games you will receive email prayer points focusing on Japan, the Olympics and Paralympics.
‘UNITED, SIMPLE, POWERFUL’
You are invited to unite in a simple but powerful prayer time on the first Friday of every month.
We want to pray in unity with many believers, prayer networks and church denominations worldwide, for revival and for the harvest according to Luke 10:2-3.
Each month, we will invite people with insight on the topics we are praying for - to brief us.
The format will be informal. We will meet with simplicity and humbleness of heart as we wait on the Lord and pray in unity.
JOIN US: FRIDAY AUGUST 6th at 6AM PACIFIC TIME (FIND MY TIME)
JOIN THE MEETING (PASSCODE 1221)
#1 PRAYER FOR THE HARVEST
Pray like Jesus said in Luke 10:2-3: "Lord of the harvest, send workers into the harvest field. Lord use me according to Your Word. I will make myself available and share my faith with one person in the next week."
#2 JAPAN AND THE OLYMPICS
Little of Japan's population knows Jesus. (0.3%) Let's pray for the harvest during and after the Olympic Games. Let's also pray for the Government, the people and the Church in Japan.
>> Further meetings are being held on Sept 3rd, Oct 1st, Nov 5th and Dec 3rd 2021 <<
1st FRIDAY GO PRAY is convened by Global Outreach (GO) Movement, International Prayer Connect and many worldwide partners.
More info and meeting link at www.gopray.world
A month before the Olympics opening ceremony, many Japanese people remain resolutely opposed to the Games, amid fears that the influx of athletes, sport officials and journalists could worsen the continuing Covid outbreak in Tokyo and across the country. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organisers are steadfast in their resolve to continue with the Games as anti-virus measures remain in place; they promise stringent protocols will prevent 93,000 visitors from worsening Japan’s outbreak. But questions still outnumber answers. Doctors and healthcare workers have the strongest opposition voices – an infection surge could overwhelm healthcare systems. ‘Front-line medical workers are being treated as disposable,’ said a 27-year-old nurse in Tokyo.Another factor fuelling public opposition is the sluggish pace of Japan’s vaccine rollout. A former Olympic athlete said the safety of people is not considered the priority. Instead, the IOC’s own interests are being considered the priority.
The Olympic games would normally draw Christians from across the world to support and lead mission work alongside the games. This would be of particular importance to Japan, one of the least reached countries with the gospel of Jesus in the world, with only 0.5% of the population professing to be Christian.
However the COVID pandemic has hindered many plans, and the question still remains as to whether the games should proceed at all.
Current polls in Japan show nearly 70% of the population do not want the Olympics to go ahead, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains steadfast that the spectacle will take place. Japan has long insisted there was no question the Olympics, which should have taken place last summer, would be held and will be safe and this was reaffirmed by the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the recent G7 conference.
Any decision to cancel the games can only be taken by the IOC and not the host city. The Olympic charter also stipulates that the IOC should ensure "the health of the athletes" and promote "safe sports", Despite all this, the IOC seems determined to go ahead.
There are also serious commercial risks to consider: "Under various clauses within this host city agreement, if Japan was to unilaterally cancel the contract, then by and large, the risks and losses would fall with the local organising committee," Professor Jack Anderson at the University of Melbourne told the BBC.
Some missionary work will continue in Japan, for example IMB missionaries in Tokyo have developed evangelism and outreach plans utilizing both volunteers and Japanese churches and believers. These plans required adapting, first with the postponement of the 2020 Olympics and second with the news that international spectators would not be permitted to attend the games in 2021. IMB missionaries shifted their efforts from being event-oriented to strategy-oriented with a focus on utilizing events to enhance their outreach. Their strategy is two-fold, Bradford said. They will be planting churches and supporting Japanese believers and churches.
There are many Christian athletes competing in the Olympics to follow and pray for. 5 of these are discussed here.
Pray: for the safety of all those involved in the Olympic Games however they may or may not proceed.
Pray: for those making decisions about the event, that compassion and love will feature instead of greed and commercial interest.
Pray: for those sportsmen and sportswomen who use their skills and talents as witnesses for Christ (1 Peter 4:10)
Pray: for those involved in mission work around the Olympics, that they will be led by the Spirit in all they do (Matthew 28:19-20)
Pray: for the people of Japan, who are divided in their support for the games, for a peaceful and gracious spirit.
IPC will be providing some more detailed prayer briefings in partnership with Japan International Sports Partnership and Japanese Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA) to guide our prayers for Japan and the Olympics in next month’s IPC Connections email and on our website.
Japan’s government declared a third state of emergency due to rising Covid infections just three months before hosting the 32nd Olympic Games. Documents released on 28 April introduce new Covid restrictions and requirements ahead of the Olympics, with guidelines that limit participants’ movement and require more testing. Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access said, ‘The government wants to quickly eliminate the rapid increase of new cases with new strands of viruses. We are quite behind with vaccinating the people. We didn’t come up with vaccines of our own, so we depend on US production. Different simulations have been done, and we probably will not be able to finish vaccinating people over 65 before the Olympics are supposed to start.’ One third of Japanese people want to postpone the Olympics for another year; another one third want to cancel it, and the rest want to go ahead after already postponing for a year.
Christians in Japan belong to a minority religion. Less than 1% of the population claim Christian affiliation, although 50 -70% are married in Christian ceremonies. 253,000 Japanese are deaf and although there is a Japanese sign language in Buddhism, it has been difficult for Christian outreach to this minority group without a Bible for them. Since the 1990s Wycliffe Bible Translators have been working to bring the Bible to Japanese deaf people. They have finished Daniel, and are now working on Ezra. Once translations are complete, videos will be recorded for the deaf community. A Wycliffe missionary said, ‘We really want to see God’s Word made available to each heart language, so that there is no language barrier between individuals anywhere in the world and the revelation that God has given us through His Word.’
The Golden Week will fall between 2 and 6 May. Families usually take advantage of this holiday period to go on long trips. Despite early signs that the number of new coronavirus cases may be slowing, the government has warned that everyone must continue to stay home and avoid non-essential travel, even during the Golden Week holidays. The economic minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who spearheads the government’s coronavirus measures, said, ‘I am alarmed that efforts to decrease the number of new patients have been insufficient’. Recently doctors warned that the medical system could collapse. Emergency rooms cannot treat seriously ill patients due to extra virus cases. One ambulance carrying a coronavirus patient was turned away by eighty hospitals before he could be seen. Japan now has tens of thousands of confirmed cases: it did not prepare well for coronavirus, despite being the second country outside China to record infection. See