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    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-8:23:54A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMI, Japan Buddhist group renew ties, pray for peace

CNMI officials led by acting Gov. Arnold I. Palacios renewed the islands’ friendship with the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination which held its annual memorial ceremony in Marpi on Thursday.

“Here on this sacred ground, we remember the lives of Japanese soldiers who lost their lives on these cliffs,” Palacios said in his remarks. “We honor their memory and pay tribute to their lives as human beings in a connected world. May they rest in peace and free from the harsh trials of war.”

He added, “We remain hopeful that we do not have to see another war in the Pacific in our lifetime. We salute every soldier who served in World War II who have made many sacrifices, and we offer a renewed call toward friendship and peace.”

Palacios said many lessons were learned from the war, and the experience made them better people and stronger individuals.

“Even with the turbulent past we once shared, we can still take each other’s hands and walk together in making sure that peace will prevail on Earth,” he added.

For his part, Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist high priest Ihira said the Japanese people’s hearts ached because many people, including NMI residents, died in the war.

Members of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination led by their president Ryohan Ichimiya pose with officials led by acting Gov. Arnold I. Palacios pose for a photo after the peace ceremony in Marpi.   Photos by Junhan B. TodiñoMembers of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination led by their president Ryohan Ichimiya pose with officials led by acting Gov. Arnold I. Palacios pose for a photo after the peace ceremony in Marpi. Photos by Junhan B. Todiño

He said the founder of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination always prayed for world peace. They have been conducting a memorial service on Saipan every year since 2007, he added.

Their group built memorials at Banzai Cliff in 2008 and in 2015, including one that commemorates the visit of Japan’s emperor and empress in 2005.

Ihira thanked the CNMI people and their government for their friendship and hospitality.

“I am thankful that we have a strong relationship with the CNMI government, the municipality of Saipan and the people of CNMI. This annual memorial event will continue in the future,” Ihira added.

Also attending the ceremony on Thursday were Japan Consul Kazuhiko Ono and his wife Misako, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Rep. Edmund Villagomez, Rep. Leepan Guerrero and his wife Vicky, Rep. Luis John Castro, Japanese Society of Northern Mariana Island president Masato Tezuka, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla Iakopo, her deputy Judy Torres, CNMI honorary tourism ambassador Willie Matsumoto and his wife, Pacific Eagle Enterprises Inc. vice president Aya Matsumoto.

In his remarks, Japan Consul Ono said he was “sincerely touched” to hear about the Nenpou activities, especially the community cleanup and peace ceremony.

“The peace and prosperity we enjoy today in Japan is built on their precious sacrifices,” Ono said, adding that they should never forget that while they either survived or not experience the war, they did not build the peace alone. “It is founded on the sacrifices made by the many people who lost their lives in the war,” he added.