His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet as he arrives for their meeting at the Diet in Tokyo, Japan on November 20, 2018.

Tokyo: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is currently on a ten-day visit to Japan, met Members of the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet at the Japanese Parliamentary Complex on Tuesday. This is the fourth time that His Holiness is being hosted at the Japanese parliament.

His Holiness last visited the Japanese Parliament on 16 November 2016 during which he interacted with 229 parliamentarians from different political parties. The All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet is the largest parliamentary group for Tibet in the world.

The Chairperson, Hakubun Shimomura, a Member of the House of Representatives from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party welcomed His Holiness to the Japanese parliamentary complex.

“The world looks up to you Your Holiness for leadership; you are someone we deeply admire. Your advice is for us like the sunshine dispelling darkness. I’d like you to know that we are also working closely with NGOs who support the cause of Tibet. On behalf of us all, I’d like to thank you for coming to our Parliament,” he said, in his welcome remarks.

Vice-Chairperson of the APJPGT, Shu Watanabe, of the People’s Democratic Party, said, “Although he is the leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness emphasises the importance of considering the welfare of all 7 billion human beings alive today. He stresses the need for greater compassion. He voices a special appreciation of Japan as a technologically highly developed country that has kept its traditional culture and values intact.”

During the meeting, the Parliamentarians voiced strong support for the Tibetan cause and reiterated their commitment towards protecting Tibetan culture, religion, language and Tibet’s ecology. They also expressed enthusiasm in supporting economic and educational development inside Tibet. They stated that they have appealed for the release of Tibetan prisoners of conscience. They urged all nations across the world to defend and support the rights of Tibetans.

The MPs informed His Holiness of the passage of a resolution with regard to Tibet. The resolution of the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet was formally read out in Japanese.

“I appreciate your resolution about Tibet. Over the last 70 years since they occupied the country Chinese hardliners have tried different methods, the use of force, brainwashing and bribery to diminish the Tibetan spirit. But the greater the suppression, the stronger the Tibetan spirit grows,” His Holiness said, addressing the MPs.

“There were all kinds of problems in Tibet before 1959, but there was no intrinsic conflict between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. However, Chinese behaviour has created a rift between the two. Discrimination exists in the administration, schools and even in prisons. The Chinese government proclaims harmony and stability, but their policies completely undermine these goals. They need to be more realistic.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet at the Japanese parliamentary complex in Tokyo, Japan on November 20, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

He continued, “On our part, since 1974 we have not sought independence. We are prepared to stay with the PRC, provided we have all the rights we are entitled to. A few years ago, we noticed the existence of a thousand or so articles in Chinese supporting our Middle Way Approach (MWA) and critical of Chinese government policy. Today, there are at least 300 million Chinese Buddhists, many of them educated people with an appreciation of the value of the Nalanda Tradition.

“I tell parliamentary groups who support Tibet in Europe that the more they are able to express concern from their own side about the situation in Tibet, the more it helps Tibetans and raises their morale. It encourages them to know there is support elsewhere in the world. It would be helpful if you were able to go into Tibet on an environmental fact-finding mission, accompanied by ecologists, to see for yourselves how things are. As you know, as the source of great rivers, Tibet’s ecology is crucial to Asian well-being.

Concluding his remarks, His Holiness said, “In India these days I am encouraging young people in particular to revive interest in ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. It may be ancient, but I believe this knowledge remains essentially relevant today. Japan is a Buddhist country and I’m convinced that if they took more interest in this inner knowledge people here too could cultivate a firm peace of mind.”

Erico Yamatani of the Liberal Democratic Party expressed gratitude to His Holiness for coming to the Parliament. “If we were to heed what His Holiness advises we might be able to achieve peace in the world. I also offer the thought that we must do more research into ways to reverse climate change, keeping in mind the important role of the Tibetan Plateau as the Third Pole.”

General Secretary of the APJPGT, Nobuyuki Baba, of the Japan Innovation Party also addressed the meeting.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will travel to Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet at the Japanese parliamentary complex in Tokyo, Japan on November 20, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor