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First Steering Committee meeting of the proposed G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008@@@
December 14, 2007
The first steering committee of the G8 Religious Leaders Summit was held on December 14, 2007 at the Kyoto Century Hotel, and was attended by 19 representatives of various religious groups.

Rt. Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake, Director-General of the Konko Church of Izuo (a Shinto denomination), having attended the G8 Religious Leaders Summit (G8RLS) held in Cologne, Germany in early June, 2007, has since July 5th 2007 undertaken preparations for the next G8 Religious Leaders Summit (2008), acting tentatively as General Secretary.

After the opening Shinto prayer by Very Rev. Fumihiko Katayama, the Chief Priest of Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine and President of Heisei Shinto Association, all participants were introduced by Rev. Miyake since this was the first meeting of the Steering Committee.

The steering committee announced the following: Firstly, the names and titles of the 37 invitees who had declared their participation; then, the entire structure of the hosting body (Japan), from the General Secretary to the steering committee; and, the composition of the honorary directorship of the G8RLS 2008.



President Juntoku Deguchi, the 110th Chief Abbot of Shitenno-ji Temple

The meeting elected the Most Ven. Jyunyoku Deguchi, the 110th Chief Abbot of Shitenno-ji Temple (the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan established AD593) as President of the G8RLS 2008, and the Most Rev. Mitsuo Miyake, Chairman of the International Religious Fellowship and the Chief Senior Minister of Konko Church of Izuo, as the Chairman of this steering committee. It was also resolved by unanimous approval that Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake, until then serving as "tentative General Secretary", take on the duties permanently.


Most Rev. Mitsuo Miyake gives address as Chairman
of the Steering Committee

General Secretary Miyake introduced his appointment of Ven. Sodo Yasunaga, Master of the Tenryuji International Zen School, and Rev. Takahiro Miwa, Chief Priest of Hiyoshi Shinto Shrine, as his Secretariat Advisers. The official positions of Honorary President, Vice President, Councillors, and others, will be decided by election in the near future.

The discussion of the budget proposed by the secretariat approved a total budget expense of 20 million yen (approx. US$180,000), consisting of conference expenses of 10 million yen (approx. US$90,000), administrative expenses of 7.7 million yen (approx. US$70,000), and a reserve fund of 2.3 million yen (approx. US$20,000). Because, in addition to donations from companies and individuals, the participating religious organizations bore "support money", the income for this budget was confirmed.

The proposed rationale and scope of the G8 Religious Leader Summit 2008 was discussed, and ten articles of agreement on the host organizationfs constitution and functioning were approved. Moreover, the theme of the summit conference was proposed by the secretariat, as well as themes to each breakaway meeting, with a stress upon continuity with the conferences in Russia in 2006 and Germany in 2007. It was resolved to examine these themes further at the next steering committee meeting.


Steering Committee approved the agreement

The steering committee was obliged to discuss on this day when to fix the date of the G8 Religious Leaders Summit, since several similar conferences are expected to be held in various venues in Japan before and after next year's G8 Political Leaders Summit, to be held in Hokkaido, Japan, 7-9 July 2008. Some persons whose participation was scheduled in one meeting wish also to attend the other, so at the next steering committee meeting, to be held in early February 2008, it will be decided to fix either Plan A (July 2 to 4) or Plan B (June 27 to 29) as the exact date of G8RLS. A serious discussion was held as to how to allow for the possibility of dual or multiple attendances.

The summit proposal has already been submitted to the Prime Ministerfs Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has received the support of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican. Thus the Secretariat may proceed forthwith to progress this G8 Religious Leaders Summit. To this end, it was reported by the steering committee's Rev. Naoki Kakeno, the Chief Priest of Nonomiya Shrine in Kyoto, that the Government of Kyoto Prefecture welcomes the holding of the G8 Religious Leaders Summit in Kyoto as the main venue.


In accordance with the principle of information disclosure, which is to be one of the essential principles of this meeting, nine national newspapers and news agencies gave coverage.

Finally, the Most Rev. Mitsuo Miyake who had been elected Chairman of the steering committee, gave the closing address. The meeting was closed with a Buddhist prayer by the Very Ven. Giko Sonoki, Executive Director of Jodo-Shinshu Hongwanji Sect. General Secretary Miyake continued the press conference afterwards.

19 religious leaders attended, and 6 observers, as follows: Very Ven. Yoshihiro Otani, Director General of Shin-shu Bukkoji Sect; Very Ven. Riten Tanaka, Director General of Kimpusen Shugen-honshu; Very Ven. Ryoyu Okeya (proxy), Director General of Nempo Shin-kyo; Very Ven. Gashow Hirano, Executive Director of Shingon-shu Senfnyuji Sect; Very Ven. Hotoku Sakamoto, Executive Director of Shitenno-ji Temple; Ven. Eikan Mizutani, Secretary General of Japan Buddhist Committee of the WFM; Most Rev. Taira Nakagawa, President of Jinjya Hon-kyo; Very Rev. Chotaro Iwata (proxy), Executive Director of Tenri-kyo; Very Rev. Akira Ueno, Chief Priest of Nachi-Hayatama Grand Shrine; Rev. Michihiro Takai, Deputy Chief Priest of Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine; Very Rev. Takeshi Nishida, President of Itto-en Community; Very Rev. Shigemi Asakawa (proxy), President of ITRI Japan Center; Most Rev. Mitsuo Miyake, Chairman of International Religious Fellowship and Chief Senior Minister of Konko Church of Izuo; Very Rev. Fumihiko Katayama, the Chief Priest of Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine and the President of Heisei Shinto Association; Rev. Takahiro Miwa, the Chief Priest of Hiyoshi Shinto Shrine; Rev. Naoki Kakeno, the Chief Priest of Nonomiya Shrine; Rt. Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake, Director General of Konko Church of Izuo. Plus 6 observers.


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