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Mahatma’s teachings echo in Japanese Parliament

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Yukio Hatoyama
Yukio Hatoyama

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama invoked the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi during his policy speech at the 174th session of the Japanese Parliament, Diet, to outline the challenges facing Japanese society and the path to their amelioration.

Beginning the speech by narrating the seven social sins inscribed at the Raj Ghat, Mr. Hatoyama confessed that he was struck by how Mahatma Gandhi’s words “incisively” pointed to the problems facing Japan and the world today. The moment he stood before the Gandhi memorial, he resolved to begin his government’s major policy speech by narrating the seven social sins listed by the Mahatma.

“Has the economy that sustained the material wealth of the 20th century made people rich, in the true sense of the word, and happy? How should we control the excesses of ‘commerce without morality’ and ‘wealth without work’ while maintaining a capitalist society? What kinds of economy, politics, society and education are desirable to enable people to live happy lives befitting human beings?” Mr. Hatoyama said.

He answered the poser himself by pointing out that “to borrow Gandhi’s words, our challenge is to foster ‘the morality of commerce’ and restore ‘wealth derived from work’.” India figured again in Mr. Hatoyama’s speech when he mentioned it along with Indonesia, countries that held extremely high expectations for increasing cultural exchange activities between people.

People-to-people exchanges

To meet such expectations, over the next five years, Japan would expand people-to-people exchanges in Asia “dramatically” by inviting over 1,00,000 youth, primarily from the Asian nations.

“We will also reciprocally increase the number of people intimately familiar with the various languages and cultures of the countries of the Asian region dramatically, thereby fostering the human resources that will serve prominent roles at the core of the East Asian community,” he said.

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