go2japan.org - News https://go2japan.org/a2/news Thu, 16 Sep 2021 08:41:11 -0700 A2-Com en-gb atong@atlassoftwaregroup.com (info@go2japan.org) Tokyo Olympics: the catalyst to change in Japan? https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1515-tokyo-olympics-the-catalyst-to-change-in-japan https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1515-tokyo-olympics-the-catalyst-to-change-in-japan Header image courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson/Wikimedia Commons.

Japan (MNN) — The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway following today’s Opening Ceremony. Delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Games will run through August 8th. See a full schedule here. The Tokyo Paralympics begin August 24th.

Athletes and fans aren’t the only ones affected by Japan’s attendance regulations.

“We were planning to send tons of teams to the Olympic Games, and we had the vision to impact a lot of people. Because of the coronavirus and the ongoing changes with the restrictions, we’ve had to modify those approaches. Many groups, like ourselves, decided to pivot to a digital approach to ministry,” Joe Handley with Asian Access says.

“We have a number of people interested in Japan, simply by doing mission via digital experiences.”

Believers may have changed their methods for Olympics outreach, but their vision remains the same. By 2024, they hope to see 10 million Christians in Japan and 10,000 churches.

header image is a stock photo courtesy of Alex Smith/Unsplash.“For the Olympics, the vision was to reach a million people as the initial catalyst. If you can get a million followers of Christ, then you have momentum that can grow exponentially,” Handley says.

The “10-10-10 vision” traces back to 2014 and a young Japanese leader. “He had this sense (in 2014) that, in the next ten years, Japan would reach 10 million followers of Christ,” Handley says.

“We serve a God who loves the word ‘impossible’.”

It’s an audacious goal if you know anything about Japan. Learn why here.

“[Japanese are] the second largest unreached people; less than one percent of the population attends church,” Handley says.

“This could be the moment where things begin to shift in Japan.”

Committed prayer holds the key to change. Join the million-hour “prayer force” here.

“This would take an enormous growth initiative, but we serve a God who loves the word ‘impossible.’ We’re praying that a million hours of prayer will be the catalyst to see a mighty move of God,” Handley says.

Asian Access’s aspirations are part of a broader movement sweeping Japan’s tiny church community. “With conditions being such they cannot get ‘boots on the ground,’ so to speak, churches have completely changed their approaches to the Olympic Games,” Handley says.

They pointed to the fact that real revival often births through prayer movements. So, their latest vision is to mobilize a million hours of prayer during the Olympic Games. It’s an initiative that is not just Asian Access; it’s all-encompassing of the mission and Church family in Japan.”

 

Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:32)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jul23-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
go2japan@asianaccess.org (Mission Network News) Latest News Fri, 23 Jul 2021 18:30:00 -0700
Japan lifts state of emergency, debates Olympics attendance https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1511-japan-lifts-state-of-emergency-debates-olympics-attendance https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1511-japan-lifts-state-of-emergency-debates-olympics-attendance header image is a stock photo courtesy of Alex Smith/Unsplash.

Japan (MNN) — Will there be any fans in the stands at next month’s Tokyo Olympics? Event organizers could announce their decision as early as today.

“Society continues to debate the overall situation, but it sounds like the government’s pretty committed to moving forward. They’ve invested a lot of money to see this happen; it will just be very different,” Joe Handley of Asian Access says.

Japan’s Prime Minister and other Olympics organizers want to allow up to 10,000 local fans into the stadiums. On Friday, Japan’s top COVID-19 adviser said holding the Games without spectators is the most effective way of reducing risk.“

No foreign visitors will be attending. It sounds like they may [only] have the athletes come; the venues will be sparsely attended,” Handley says.

Authorities announced last week they’ll lift the state of emergency in nine areas. But “quasi-emergency” measures will be in place in seven of them – including Tokyo – until July 11th.

Pray for wisdom as believers in Japan navigate the constant change.  “They’re doing the best they can to reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus, as well as share the Good News with their neighbors,” Handley says.

“No matter which way [officials] go with the Olympics, they (believers) intend to be witnesses for Christ’s kingdom.”

Support their efforts here through Asian Access.

“Asian Access has received a $1 million matching gift to help equip these leaders to advance the Gospel, as people are witnesses amid this pandemic. They have a big new vision in Japan to plant 50,000 churches over the next decade or so,” Handley says.

“Pray about this matching opportunity, and should the Lord touch your heart to give, it would be an enormous help.”

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jun21-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
go2japan@asianaccess.org (Mission Network News) Latest News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 13:00:00 -0700
COVID-19 overwhelms hospitals throughout Asia https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1508-covid-19-overwhelms-hospitals-throughout-asia https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1508-covid-19-overwhelms-hospitals-throughout-asia Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of S&B Vonlanthen/Unsplash.

Asia (MNN) — An “explosion” of COVID-19 cases is pushing hospitals across Asia to the edge of collapse, the International Federation of the Red Cross warns. Asian nations reported over 5.9 million new infections in the past two weeks – more than the combined totals of all other regions.

“A big portion of that is India, [but] I’m also hearing reports of spiking cases in places like Nepal, Cambodia, and the Philippines,” Joe Handley of Asian Access says.

“In most of these countries, it’s difficult to put in the kinds of lockdown measures and safety protocols [required] to ‘move the needle’ in any quick fashion. So this could be a long-lasting thing.”

Even China reported its first new cases in more than three weeks, although “It’s hard to get information out of China,” Handley says.

“The folks I talked to [say] people are out on the streets; they may wear masks but by and large, China’s operating the way they would normally operate. That would lead you to believe either [the government] is not talking about it, or it’s under more control.”

Believers place others before themselves

Asian Access trains and walks alongside Christian leaders in 25 countries across Asia. “They’re doing the best they can to serve the people,” Handley says.

He recounts an example of how leaders trained by Asian Access respond:

One of our national directors got a call from someone in his church; their lungs were starting to fail, and the emergency services were unable to help. Our national director took a risk. He put on a mask, did as many protective measures as he could, and he drove over there. He picked up the gentleman in failing health and rushed him to an emergency center; they were closed. A second [emergency center was closed as well]. Finally, he heard about another Christian hospital; he got him there and got him in. [The director] was sitting there for six hours waiting on this fellow’s situation in the middle of a ward with COVID patients. … There were three or four [people] who died during the six hours he was in the hospital. When he finally got back home, he quarantined himself [for two weeks] because he’s worried about [family members] who live with him.

“The needs are enormous, and these are the types of stories I hear over and over again across the entire region,” Handley says.

“Pray for the Church as they reach out to their neighbors. They want to be a present witness for Christ and proclaim the good news of the Gospel amid this horrific situation.”

Pray also for wisdom as Asian Access equips its national partners. “Think about the implications of the enormous need that’s happening in Asia right now. Leaders need to be deftly equipped for the situations they’re facing and how to best serve,” Handley says. 

“Asian Access has received a $1 million matching gift to help equip these leaders and advance the Gospel. Pray about this matching opportunity. Should the Lord touch your heart to give, it would be an enormous help.”

Help pastors and Christian leaders serve well amid the crisis.

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-May17-2021.mp3

 

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following this site.

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Thu, 27 May 2021 15:00:00 -0700
Playbooks outline new restrictions, requirements for 2020 Tokyo Olympics https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1507-playbooks-outline-new-restrictions-requirements-for-2020-tokyo-olympics https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1507-playbooks-outline-new-restrictions-requirements-for-2020-tokyo-olympics Header image is a graphic obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Japan (MNN) — Playbooks released yesterday introduce new COVID-19 restrictions and requirements ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The guidelines limit participants’ movement and require more testing.

Japan’s government declared the third state of emergency last week due to rising COVID-19 infections. The decision comes as Tokyo locals prepare to host the 32nd Olympic Games in three short months.

Poster from Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)“The government would like to quickly eliminate the rapid increase [of new cases] with new strands of viruses. While Japanese [are] getting ready for vaccinations of the people, we are quite behind,” Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says.

“We didn’t come up with vaccines of our own, so we depend on U.S. production. Different simulations have been done, and we probably will not be able to finish vaccinating people over 65 before the Olympics are supposed to start.”

Local opinions about this global event fall into thirds. “We have several different polls among general citizens about the Tokyo Olympics. One-third of Japanese people are thinking, ‘Let’s postpone one more year until we have some control over this pandemic,’” Takazawa says.

“Another one-third is saying, ‘Let’s cancel; this is not going to work. We can’t control this.’ Another one-third is [saying], ‘Let’s go. We have already postponed one year, and the situation’s slightly better. We know what we’re dealing with’,” he continues.

“Those are the three splits, and each group has good evidence or proof.”

Gospel impact

Before the pandemic, Asian Access had massive outreach plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. More about that here. They’re adjusting those plans to each new development, but their mission remains the same.

“Let’s pour love on people who God has placed in front of us,” Takazawa says.

“[It’s] not so much ‘If they do the Olympics we can share the Gospel.’ No, regardless of the decision, how can we do this? This is an opportunity to [find] new ways to come alongside and share love.”

July 23, the start date of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, moves a little closer every day. Takazawa requests prayer in these three areas:

  • Opportunity – Pray believers will find Gospel opportunities in places they haven’t looked before. Ask God to present opportunities so believers can share about Christ.
  • Words – Pray Japanese Christians will have the words they need to express their faith clearly. Ask the Lord to remove fear so it won’t hinder their message.
  • Boldness – Pray believers will be “strong and courageous” to share Christ’s hope and love with people who do not know Him.

 

Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:40)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Apr29-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Wed, 26 May 2021 15:00:00 -0700
Japan prohibits international spectators for Olympics https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1506-japan-prohibits-international-spectators-for-olympics https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1506-japan-prohibits-international-spectators-for-olympics The header photo shows cherry blossoms in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Kanenori on Pixabay)

Japan (MNN) — As cherry blossoms bloom across Japan, the country has barred international spectators from the rescheduled 2021 Summer Olympics due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. 600,000 people bought tickets to watch the games in-person.

Asian Access had planned to send ministry teams into this massive crowd. Joe Handley says,

“We’ve completely shifted the approach to virtual, short-term mission trips. The ongoing preparation since September has been focused on these kinds of virtual experiences. You get to know the country, and you get to see what’s happening on the ground. We connect you with people that can advise culturally. And then you get to engage.”

You can learn more about these trips and register here.

go2japan: find your place. (Mt. Fuji volcano is courtesy of Kanenori on Pixabay.)

A new season for the Church

These trips reflect a pivot in Japan towards virtual churches during the pandemic. Believers have made good use of digital technology to stay connected.

Handley says Japanese Christians see the Olympics as a springboard for what God will do next through the Church there.

“I think that this whole pandemic has given new realities to the life of the global Church, and how we’re going to do ministry in the future. Fascinatingly enough, it comes in this cherry blossom season, when new life can be birthed.”

Pray the Japanese church can fulfill its incredible vision of planting 50 thousand churches in the country. Handley says, “I think it’s gonna take an entrepreneurial spirit, that new wineskin approach to life and ministry.”

Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:42)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Mar24-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Mon, 29 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700
Today marks 10 years since 3.11 Triple Disaster in Japan https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1503-today-marks-10-years-since-fukushima-disaster-in-japan https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1503-today-marks-10-years-since-fukushima-disaster-in-japan small town in Japan abandoned after the triple disaster. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Japan (MNN) — On this day 10 years ago, a triple disaster rocked Japan. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake sent a tsunami hurtling into the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Three reactors melted down, spewing radioactive material into the air. Read a complete timeline of the disaster here.

Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says, “We want to think, ‘That was it. We went through hardship enough. So until Jesus comes back, this will be the end. We just continue without earthquakes or any disaster or suffering.’ But it was a wake-up call that this can happen anyplace, anytime, to anybody.”

Japanese Christians

But God works in a mysterious new way in the world, Takazawa says. And He doesn’t stop in times of pain and hardship.

“The global Church came together as one and came alongside the part that was hurting. We felt [their love] not just theological reflection. We saw it, we touched, and we smelled it. We tasted the global Church.”

The disaster also taught Japanese Christians to move towards areas of disaster and hardship, not away from them. “Of course, an evacuation was needed for the moment. But where they live, the Church must be established, raising leaders for the harvest, from the harvest.” Pray God will bless their continuing ministry in a country that still bears scars from this catastrophe.

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Mar11-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
go2japan@asianaccess.org (Mission Network News) Latest News Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800
10 years after Fukushima disaster, 7.1 earthquake rocks Japan https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1494-10-years-after-fukushima-disaster-7-1-earthquake-rocks-japan https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1494-10-years-after-fukushima-disaster-7-1-earthquake-rocks-japan The header photo shows a radiation hotspot near Fukushima in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Japan (MNN) — Nearly ten years ago, a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake unleashed a massive tsunami near Fukushima, Japan. 20,000 people died and over 100,000 evacuated after three nuclear reactors suffered damage and melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the environment. Read more about the ongoing effects of the catastrophe here.

Saturday, the region suffered an aftershock of the 2011 quake, according to the Japanese Meteorological Society. Aftershocks can continue for years after a major earthquake. In fact, this isn’t the first major earthquake to hit the region since the disaster.

An inspection of the Fukushima area in 2012 (Photo courtesy of Global 2000 via Flickr)Thankfully, no casualties were reported this time, and nuclear power plants in the area showed no sign of damage or abnormalities. Joe Handley of Asian Access says, “I’m hearing people are safe, but the anxiety levels are high. The shaking was so bad that books were thrown across rooms, glass was broken. It was a pretty severe shake. I believe I’m hearing it was about 7.1 on the Richter scale.”

Lingering anxiety

The Fukushima disaster remains one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. The Japanese government will continue cleaning up sites contaminated by radioactive materials for decades. Several areas still exude higher than normal amounts of radiation. Many people have never returned to their homes in Fukushima.

This new earthquake has further unsettled people living nearby. Handley says local Christians want to embody the hope of Jesus in an anxious time.

“It’s in moments like these that we the Church can rise above. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, Japanese leaders in that region, and missionaries that we work with, as they try to come in and be a presence for Jesus. If they can be that light of Christ and be His hands and feet in the midst of what’s happening, I think it’s a great encouragement to the people.”

Pray the Holy Spirit will empower Japanese believers in this work.

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Feb16-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Tue, 16 Feb 2021 11:00:00 -0800
Survey says: no Tokyo Olympics in Summer 2021 https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1492-survey-says-no-tokyo-olympics-in-summer-2021 https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1492-survey-says-no-tokyo-olympics-in-summer-2021 courtesy of Tokyo Organizing Committee

Japan (MNN) — Support for the Tokyo Olympics just hit a new low in Japan. The latest spike in Tokyo’s COVID-19 infections has 80-percent of Japanese residents saying the Summer Games should be rescheduled again, or canceled altogether.

“People have different feelings. Some [are] saying, ‘it’s impossible so let’s give up’; [the] government hasn’t,” Takeshi Takazawa explains. Takazawa is Vice President for Missional Engagement and is the former National Director for Asian Access in Japan.

Asian Access had high hopes for Olympic outreach, but those plans were put on hold last spring. For now, leaders focus on more pressing needs – stemming the rising depression and suicide rates in Japan.

Tokyo Olympics and mental health

With fewer than 200 days remaining before Tokyo Olympics begin, authorities say everything will go forward as planned. However, uncertainty remains high and sadness often follows canceled plans.

Depression rose 477-percent among professional athletes between mid-March and August last year, one study found. Athletes and sports enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who struggle. Depression and suicide rates skyrocketed in Japan, too.“

The depression, suicide rate has sharply shifted from older generation into a younger generation. [The] female [suicide rate] has increased since last summer, when two of the famous celebrities committed suicide,” Takazawa says.

As described here, more Japanese people died from suicide than COVID-19 last year. Self-induced deaths declined annually from 2009 to 2019, but soared to new heights during the pandemic.

Ask God to give believers the right words as they share Christ’s hope with hurting individuals online. Pray for wisdom for Japanese church leaders as they navigate changing regulations. Support Gospel work in Japan through Asian Access.

"We need to stand in the gap. Let’s stand together as a global faith community [and] encourage one another to pray for all [of these] things,” Takazawa suggests.

“Crises sometimes push us away from God. But God wants to want us to draw near to Him, so challenge each other – are we praying more because of this crisis?”  

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jan12-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
go2japan@asianaccess.org (Mission Network News) Latest News Tue, 19 Jan 2021 16:30:00 -0800
COVID-19 surge puts Tokyo under state of emergency https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1491-covid-19-surge-puts-tokyo-under-state-of-emergency https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1491-covid-19-surge-puts-tokyo-under-state-of-emergency hakan-nural-16bsoiasxh0-unsplash

Japan (MNN) — The world’s most populous city is now under a state of emergency thanks to soaring COVID-19 infections. Japan reported 6,100 new cases on Thursday, with roughly half coming from Tokyo. The emergency declaration began Friday and will end on February 7.“

Over the Christmas into New Year’s holidays, we couldn’t change the trend of steep [infection] increases, especially in the bigger cities. Hokkaido and Osaka requested ‘state of emergency’-type restrictions; however, Tokyo never went into that stage,” Takeshi Takazawa explains.

Takazawa was born and raised in Tokyo and currently serves as Vice President for Strategic Engagement for Asian Access. From 2015-'17, he served as National Director of A2/Japan. “Because of [the economy], Tokyo never went into a state of emergency or major restrictions,” he says.

“We just continued [our routine], hoping that people will somehow prevent transferring the virus or receiving the virus, but it didn’t work.”

Uncertainty surrounds the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, previously rescheduled for Summer 2021. More about that here.

Church workers adapt to overcome

Critics say the current restrictions on Tokyo aren’t strong enough to keep the surge contained. “[They are] milder than before; it’s more targeted restrictions,” Takazawa says.

(Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash)While schools remain open, “people are discouraged from leaving home after 8 pm, that’s number one. Number two is 70% of all the workers, that’s the target, [should stay] home [and] work remotely,” Takazawa says, describing two primary changes under the state of emergency orders.

Believers may not be meeting in-person right now, but God is still using them in mighty ways.

“We’ve been helping church leaders to minister online since April of last year. Eight times, [once] every month, about 100 Japanese pastors get together online [to] discuss issues and spiritual health,” Takazawa says.

On a practical level, “we’re emphasizing listening – listening to God more, and listening to people more, not talking all the time because [the] airborne transmission risk is very high,” he continues.

“Even in a small group [setting] we try to listen; to explore listening to the issues of the people rather than [going] out to tell people.”

Learn how you can support church leaders in Japan through Asian Access. Most importantly, keep praying for Japan. “Whenever we see the news, that’s the call for prayer – ‘God, have mercy on us, we’re all struggling,” Takazawa says. These trials are testing believers’ faith, but strengthening their hope.

“We cannot do anything without Jesus Christ, so pray that we remain in Him.”

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jan11-2021.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
go2japan@asianaccess.org (Mission Network News) Latest News Tue, 19 Jan 2021 12:30:00 -0800
Suicide killing more people in Japan than COVID-19 https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1482-suicide-killing-more-people-in-japan-than-covid-19 https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1482-suicide-killing-more-people-in-japan-than-covid-19 vaea garrido vAHhUb YM c unsplash

Pandemic challenges Japan’s group-oriented culture

Japan (MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

COVID in Japan - photo courtesy of Simon Ma via UnsplashOne of the reasons for the rise in suicides is because Japan has a very group-oriented culture. Belonging to a group—whether it’s a family, a workplace, or some kind of community—and functioning within that group is incredibly important.

Pandemic shutdowns and solitary quarantines can cut individuals off from their group identity. As a result, many Japanese people are dealing with severe depression and anxiety.

Takeshi Takazawa with Asian Access says even online tools like social media and Zoom aren’t the same. “I’m talking with you now even though we’re miles apart, but this is a little bit different from face-to-face group talking [and] processing, and that is challenging for us and especially younger people who need heavy connection.”

Many single young people in Japan travel to Tokyo to work. Throughout the year, they make frequent visits to their families back home, but the pandemic has changed that too. Takazawa says,

“They’re told by their homeland family, ‘Please don’t come back. Don’t bring the pandemic. It’ll be bad. Grandma and Grandpa need to be protected so don’t come back.’”

It’s also hard for college students.

“Many of the freshmen, they never went to campus. They never met anybody even though they entered school. Then all they see is a screen... They join a club or team but they practice separately.”

Women shopkeepers in Japan during COVID - photo courtesy of Jeremy Stenuit via UnsplashWhat Japan needs is hope—the kind found in Jesus. According to The Joshua Project, 97 percent of the Japanese population is unreached with the Gospel.

Pray for the people of Japan to find their hope and belonging in Christ alone.

You can find more ways to pray with Asian Access here.

 

Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 01:29)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Dec10-2020.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

]]>
Latest News Tue, 05 Jan 2021 06:00:00 -0800
US and other countries begin COVID-19 vaccine rollout https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1484-us-and-other-countries-begin-covid-19-vaccine-rollout https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1484-us-and-other-countries-begin-covid-19-vaccine-rollout Header image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay.

Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective at preventing someone from catching COVID-19.

Japan (MNN) — This week, the company Pfizer will deliver an estimated 2.9 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to locations around the US. The UK has already begun using the vaccine, which was developed by the German company BioNTech.

The vaccine was developed in under a year and uses new technology to vaccinate people against viruses. It needs to be kept at very cold temperatures, at least 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

The vaccine has been put through rigorous safety checks, and the FDA approved it for emergency use on Friday. Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective at preventing someone from catching COVID-19, according to several studies. The vaccine surprised many by how effective it was, shattering the highest expectations of scientists. Other COVID-19 vaccines, including the Moderna vaccine and one developed at Oxford University, may be rolled out for use in the coming weeks as well.

Near-empty streets in Japan during COVID-19 lockdown. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)The vaccine rollout marks a hopeful moment in a time when millions around the world suffer under sickness or lockdown. The United States alone just passed 300,000 COVID-19 deaths over the course of the year.

Vaccine in Japan

Japan is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases as well and has begun buying freezers to store the Pfizer vaccine. But Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says many Japanese remain pessimistic and have a lot of questions.

“Do we have enough? Oh, you have to keep it in a very cold fridge? Do we have enough fridges? Those [things] grab attention way more than what it might provide for us. So people are hopeful, but they keep saying regular people will not get it [right away]. Maybe after the Olympics.”

Japan postponed the 2020 Olympic Games due to COVID-19, a move which Takazawa says devastated the Japanese people not just economically, but mentally. However, the country now plans to host the games in Tokyo this summer, and vaccines may play a key role in allowing the games to go forward.

In the meantime, Takazawa says,

“Please pray that people of Japan will seek out the God who created us, created this world. That’s one. The god of this world has done a great job shielding the sight of Japanese people not to see the future hope, but only the problems of the current and the present. So pray that the people will be able to seek out the hope in the future.”

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Dec15-2020.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Tue, 15 Dec 2020 13:00:00 -0800
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigns https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1477-japans-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-resigns https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1477-japans-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-resigns Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Japan (MNN) — Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned, citing chronic health concerns. Last year, he became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, serving his current period in office since 2012. This isn’t the first time Mr. Abe has resigned as Japan’s prime minister for health reasons. He left a previous term in 2007 for similar chronic health reasons. Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Japan (MNN) — Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned, citing chronic health concerns. Last year, he became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, serving his current period in office since 2012.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Abe has resigned as Japan’s prime minister for health reasons. He left a previous term in 2007 for similar chronic health reasons.

Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says:

“He said that he cannot continue to serve in this capacity with his physical condition reoccurring and having major treatment at the same time. [He can’t] respond to the needs that we’re facing currently, not only as Japanese but as a world.”

Accomplishments and goals as prime minister

Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. Mr. Abe can be seen on the right. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Mr. Abe has led Japan through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the difficult decision to delay the Olympic Games to 2021. As he is stepping down, his party, the Liberal Democratic Party, will choose a successor.

Mr. Abe had a long list of goals that he won’t be able to accomplish after stepping down, like making North Korea return abducted Japanese citizens, and grappling over territorial disputes with Russia. He also wanted to amend Japan’s constitution to give more power to the military. After World War II, Japan took drastic steps to limit its military power, having armed forces only for self-defense.

The Gospel in Japan

The resignation comes as a great surprise to the people of Japan. But Takazawa says:

“What happens in today is not a surprise for God. [He] knew what was going on in the political scene of Japan, and He has His mission on this Earth. We commit to pray for Mr. Abe, to be recovering from this illness.”

Asian Access continues to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ in all nations on Earth. Pray that the work in Japan would be fruitful.

Pray also for the next Prime Minister, that he or she would be able to navigate Japan’s many challenges, particularly COVID-19.

 

Listen to the broadcast (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Aug31-2020.mp3

 

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Tue, 01 Sep 2020 14:00:00 -0700
Asian Access overcomes pandemic restrictions, launches new programs https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1476-asian-access-overcomes-pandemic-restrictions-launches-new-programs https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1476-asian-access-overcomes-pandemic-restrictions-launches-new-programs South Asia (MNN) — So far, 2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic create an unpredictable atmosphere for ministry. But Joe Handley of Asian Access says there’s a bright spot amidst the chaos. Asian Access equips national church leaders to multiply churches and make disciples. “We had been planning for several years to do a digital media initiative to equip younger generations, as well as where the persecuted Church lies” in South Asia, Handley explains...

South Asia (MNN) — So far, 2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic create an unpredictable atmosphere for ministry. More coronavirus coverage here.

But Joe Handley of Asian Access says there’s a bright spot amidst the chaos.

Asian Access equips national church leaders to multiply churches and make disciples. “We had been planning for several years to do a digital media initiative to equip younger generations, as well as where the persecuted Church lies” in South Asia, Handley explains.

“It just so happened that the pandemic opened that door for us to invest heavily in digital technology.”

RevivalThrough a new digital approach, Asian Access is opening work in two new countries this summer. While he cannot name one country for security reasons, Handley says, “the leaders we’ve been talking to in Thailand for several years are very interested in this idea.”

COVID-19 can’t stop Gospel growth

Meetings began a few weeks ago in the closed nation. Typically, Asian Access begins its leadership development program in-person. “We meet on the ground face to face life on life; you’re growing together in community. But with digital technology advancing like it is, we’re able to create an online community, so to speak,” Handley says.

Through online video conferencing, Asian Access trainers met with a dozen national leaders for an orientation meeting and three days of “deep dive” discussions. Calling it a “soft launch,” Handley says his team plans to use this approach to navigate pandemic restrictions. “It’s about a one-year module until we can get in the country and be face to face with people,” he says.

Despite several connectivity and communication challenges, the program is off to a great start.

“The leaders were overjoyed. They just loved it; they were hungry for something like this, and the interaction was dynamic.”

It’s taken years of prayers and failed attempts to reach this point, Handley says. “[It] is a Muslim-dominant country where there’s a lot of persecution, and we have been challenged with trying to figure out how [to] serve the needs there,” he explains.

“We have been begged for many years by several leaders in the country to please come. And everything we’ve tried has [failed].”

Ministry leaders will use what they’ve learned so far to begin work in Thailand. “We’re in the process of selecting the 12 to 15 leaders that will be on [the orientation] call in two weeks. And then sometime in August, we’ll do the three-day opening week with them,” Handley says.

How to help

Use prompts listed alongside the article to guide your prayers. Become a financial partner here. “We have a matching grant of $200,000 to get this off the ground; I believe we’ve raised just over [half],” Handley says.

Pray for multiplied Gospel growth through this initiative.

“We change the few who change the many by investing in a few key leaders and going deep with them. They become catalysts for God’s Kingdom in their country.”

Although things changed in unexpected ways this year, praise God for giving leaders the creativity to adapt and overcome.

“We were hoping to be in 20 countries by the end of the year; we had big plans for the Olympic Games. Now with the pandemic, most of the countries we work in are either on some form of lockdown or at least shelter-in-place type orders, so that changed the landscape altogether,” Handley observes.

“Currently, we’re in 17 [countries]. It should be foreseeable that we can be easily in 20 by the end of the year, assuming we can continue in these online digital formats.”

Listen to the broadcast: (story starts at 1:30)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jul02-2020.mp3

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give, or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Fri, 31 Jul 2020 10:00:00 -0700
Japan finally social distancing after April COVID-19 wave https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1467-japan-finally-social-distancing-after-april-covid-19-wave https://go2japan.org/a2/news/1467-japan-finally-social-distancing-after-april-covid-19-wave Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people. Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here. Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been... 

Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people.

Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here.

Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been steadily growing. But our country decided to limit the PCR test to see [if people were] positive or negative.” Like most countries, Japan doesn’t currently have the hospital infrastructure to deal with an out-of-control coronavirus outbreak. The country has declared a nationwide state of emergency until May 6.

Near-empty streets in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Japan’s social distancing measures had also been lax. Takazawa says:

“It’s been very difficult in dense cities like Tokyo or Osaka. We’re trying to do it. In the downtown business area, traffic has been reduced significantly. But in the residential area people are still walking around. Of course, we were a highly mask-wearing culture even before this COVID-19 situation, so people are wearing masks.”

As more and more people started exhibiting symptoms, Takazawa says, the Japanese government had to start testing more people. As they did, the number of confirmed cases went up, simulating a “second wave.”

Impacts to ministry

Asian Access works to unify the Church in Japan and other parts of Asia. Takazawa says:

“This situation took away that luxury of being together as a community. So we have to change our strategy from face to face to distant connectedness. So, we’ve been shifting almost everything online at this moment.”

Poster from Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)How can ministry be done without physical presence? That is a philosophical shift the Church is going through, Takazawa says. One thing is certain; the love of the Holy Spirit casts out fear. That is needed in Japan and all over the world.

Pray for Japan

Christians in the United States are united with Christians in Japan through the Holy Spirit. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Japan as they face the increased social distancing measures for the first time. Pray that they will not panic but will encourage others through their fearless commitment to Christ.

And remember that Christians in Japan are doing the same thing. Takazawa says:

“We are remembering other countries, like New York’s situation and other states that [have] increasing cases. We are praying for the leaders, medical staff, and all these brothers and sisters in North America.”

For the PrayerCast coronavirus video, click here.

Listen to the broadcast: (top story)

Direct Link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Apr22-2020.mp3

More Information


Mission Network News (https://mnnonline.org)Mission Network News exists to inform multitudes about stories that matter and empowers them to take action that changes lives. Join over 1 million radio and internet users each day. Hear stories of what God is doing around the world – and how you can be involved. Each MNN broadcast includes pray, give or go opportunities that help you find your place in the story. Sign up at mnnonline.org to receive daily news in your inbox. Or check out MNN on social media and share them with others. MNN is a ministry of OneWay Ministries.

 

]]>
Latest News Thu, 23 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700