As tensions between China, Taiwan, and the US increase, Japan is engaging in a massive military expansion. Since 2016 three military bases have been built on a string of islands spread across the Eastern China Sea from the southern tip of Japan’s main islands all the way to Taiwan. Construction of a fourth base on another island is underway. Pray for wisdom for the Japanese military and government in the face of rising regional tensions. Speak out over this nation that God loves Japan (and all its neighboring nations) so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to bring salvation. Pray that this Gospel message will take root in Japan (The Bible, John 3:16).
An archipelago of 6,852 islands, Japan has the world’s third-largest economy and is a major donor to world crises. Three-quarters of the nation’s population lives in big cities, together with one of the world’s most aging populations has resulted in specific needs in rural areas as young people all move to the cities in search of work. A strong traditional core has been flanked by a progressive younger generation valuing Western culture and ideas. Japan suffers from a high suicide rate, the leading cause of death for those under 30. Fewer than two percent are Christian; it is still one of the world’s most secular nations. Seventy percent of Japanese identify with no personal religion, although most adhere to Shinto and Buddhist customs. This year Japan was rocked by the assassination of former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, during a campaign speech. The election was won by the new prime minister, Fumio Kishida.