As the migrant crisis is escalating all over the world the Church in Vietnam and Japan is working to collaborate on how to best provide pastoral care and social benefits to the increasing number of migrant workers in their own countries.
Father Joseph Dao Nguyen Vu, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in Vietnam, accompanied by Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung, head of the commission, met with officials from the Catholic Commission of Japan for Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move on Sept. 23-28.
Father Vu said Catholic churches have agreed to establish a joint working group to include representatives from both countries, including priests and Religious. He said both sides are now preparing to set up two pastoral centers for Vietnamese migrant workers in two ecclesiastical provinces of Tokyo and Osaka.
Father Vu said despite a lack of personnel, the church in Japan tries to offer Vietnamese migrants faith education, pastoral work and legal advice. The church in Japan also helps Vietnamese migrants integrate into local communities, and tries to protect them from exploitation.
During the visit, Bishop Hung asked the Japanese church to continue their generous support to enable Vietnamese communities to grow in faith and social capabilities. He said the commission plans to establish an office in Japan where local priests, Religious, social workers, legal advisers can be present officially to help Vietnamese workers.
Some 200,000 Vietnamese migrant workers live in Japan, while around 100,000 Japanese migrants work in Vietnam.
Pope Francis has been loud and clear in his recurrent plea to care for the migrants and he even instituted a Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development. Through this Dicastery he wished to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking. (UCAN)