On June 30th, we along with Japan was shocked again about another tragedy in this technological savvy country. John was talking to a pastor by phone and was asked if he had heard the news from yesterday. A man from Tokyo committed suicide on the bullet train by dosing himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire. We both ride this same train many times as year making it hard to believe. This is the first death on the Shinkansen since it opened in 1964, shutting down the train for two hours. Technology was solid but society failed.
We are reminded of several realities of modern Japan. 1) Japan may be high-tech but its superior technology cannot prevent a tragedy like this. This is a soul problem. 2) This is a country with lots of suicides, 30,000 a year. That is nearly 100 per day! The experiment of the Japanese society is failing. 3) There are too many people lonely, broken, and hurting in Japan. Japan is full of human disasters just waiting to happen. This may increase as the number of aged people increases.
This whole tragic event is a heartbreak to us. We love the Japanese people and their society but we also see the futility of basing a society on impermanent and material things. What we saw after the triple disaster in Tohoku was the incredible hope given by Christ. What Japan needs is scores of Christian communities that seek out and welcome people like this man from Tokyo, and love them and give them hope. Pray with us to fulfill God’s calling for our lives to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus by starting and strengthening churches in Japan and worldwide.