The Words of the Alao Family
Lagos, Nigeria -- An Ambassadors for Peace study tour of Japan began with a one-day orientation seminar in Lagos on August 9. Participants departed Nigeria on the following day and were warmly received by Japanese women who have been volunteering in various African countries, as well as Japanese men who went to Africa in 1975: Mr. Kijima, who went to Nigeria, and Mr. Sasada, who went to Zambia.
The weather in Tokyo was hot and rainy following a typhoon. We were told by our host that Japan was experiencing unusual weather. In West Africa we often experience similar weather, but the Japanese hosts were concerned.
The opening session was held at the UPF-Japan office in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Mr. Olaleye Alao, Secretary General of UPF-Nigeria, introduced the participants from Nigeria, and Mr. Shigenari Kato, Secretary General for Public Affairs of UPF-Japan, introduced the seminar staff and resource people, beginning with Rev. Ken Sudo, lecturer; Mr. Seichi Kikuya, Secretary General of UPF-Japan; and Mr. Yoshihiro Yamazaki, media relations, UPF-Japan.
Mr. Yamazaki said that August is a time of reflection on war and peace in Japan, because 65 years ago Japan surrendered on August 15 to the Allied Forces led by the US military, ending World War II, following the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.
Mr. Kikuya gave a presentations about UPF activities in Japan. The Nigerian participants were very inspired by Mr. Kikuya's presentation, and he challenged them to regard themselves as spiritual leaders and envoys of the "Abel UN" to troubled area of the world. He described this as the original idea of the UPF founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, in initiating the Ambassadors for Peace movement.
A special reception was held at the Keo Plaza Hotel banquet hall for the Nigeria delegates, who were welcomed warmly by Rev. Dr. Song Young Suk, Regional Chair of UPF-Japan, in the company of Mr. Hideo Oyamada, Chair of UPF-Japan; Senator Mikio Shimoji, member of the National Parliament of Japan; the Nigeria Ambassador to Japan represented by Mr. Olakunle A. Bamgbose, Minister of the Nigeria Embassy in Japan; H.E. Amb. Akira Matsui, former Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria; and a gathering of about 80 other people.
Welcoming remarks and speeches were given by Mr. Oyamada, Dr. Song, Senator Shimoji, and Mr. Bamgbose. On behalf on the Nigerian participants, Bishop Degaya Kleham Kings was asked to give a brief report of Ambassadors for Peace activities in Nigeria. Bishop Degaya showcased the UPF Peace Corps of Nigeria, a new initiative of UPF-Nigeria; he gave a brief report of projects and services in Nigeria as indicated in the attached news report for 2009 and 2010. All the Nigerian participants had paid for their air tickets, hotel accommodations, seminar fees, and tours.
As a token of appreciation, Dr. Song gave a digital camera to all the delegates from Nigeria, and Mr. Toshiaki Sasada on behalf of the Japanese business group gave ginseng extract and other health-related education, encouraging to consider healthy physical life part of their quest for self-fulfillment.
The theme of seminar was Strengthening Family Values and Building a World of Peace. Rev. Sudo gave lectures on the principle of creation, the purpose of life, the value of human beings, the human fall, and history as a process of restoration. The concluding lecture introduced the World Peace Blessing, which was scheduled for October 10 in Korea.
Rev. Sudo was very inspired by the response of the participants despite the challenging contents and the task of sitting in a lecture room all day. Moved by the amazing hospitality of UPF-Japan and volunteers, the participants offered gifts in appreciation. They found sincere love and new friends. Nigerians who are living in Japan also helped make the seminar a success.
The study tour concluded on August 16 with a special dinner at the residence of the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Hon. Godwin Agbo, during which all participants received Ambassador for Peace certificates from the ambassador.
To show appreciation to the government of Japan, Mr. Alao and his wife Takako, accompanied by Mr. Sasada, paid a courtesy visit to Senator Shimoji in his office on their final day in Japan and offered a gift on behalf of the Nigerian Ambassadors for Peace.