Activity Idea

1. Toward World Peace

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Noriko Inamori.

I have been looking forward to coming here to deliver this speech for a long time, however I have a friend here today to read the speech on my behalf as I have lost the ability to speak as my disease has progressed. I wish I had sent the entry a few months earlier, but I have finally made it and will try not to waste any more of my limited time. I can still write with the help of my friends, so it's better to focus on the things I can do rather than mourning what I cannot do.

Since divorcing last spring, I have been contemplating the human rights of disabled people. My ex-husband divorced me because as my disease worsened I could no longer do housework, nor take care of my children or even myself. My dignity as a woman and human being was denied. I'm not allowed to have custody of my five children either.

Some people used to criticize me for participating in world peace activities. They would say, "You are not even capable of taking care of yourself, let alone the world."

Then the Great East Japan earthquake struck us. Thousands of children were killed by the ensuing tsunami and I felt so guilty that I, who have to trouble people to help me do the most basic things all the time, am still alive and those children died. Then I thought that there must be a reason that I am still alive. Thus I decided to do the things I can do now and live in the moment, and that is the reason for my presence before you here today.

As you already know, this year Japan suffered its biggest earthquake disaster since records have been kept. It was so big that it even sent all Japanese who are accustomed to earthquake's into a state of shock. During the difficult times, however, I was surprised to find Japanese people who had such strong compassion and instincts to help the victims of the disaster that I thought were gone.

Japanese rebuilt the country after the war by working exceptionally hard. We worked so frantically to make the country recover that we used to be called economic animals who had denied religious belief. I therefore think that in other people's eyes we became economically rich but spiritually poor. I think that was what we were. We were so caught up with our own business that we couldn't care less about others.

On the other hand, Japan has been a country of peace, manner and order since ancient times. I think that this was proven after the disaster. Japan has now become one big family. We share our sorrows and joys and set our minds together towards the reconstruction of the north eastern region. The loss of parents or of children is no longer someone else's business.

Another thing that took me by surprise was the great level of support and donations from all over the world. Also, there were a lot of Japanese people who volunteered to help out even though we don't practice volunteer activities that much in Japan. And I was also moved by the number of foreign people who came from overseas to volunteer and who tried so hard to rescue people. It was as if there had never been any territorial disputes whatsoever in the past.

I often contemplate how we can achieve world peace for our children. I think that if all people could share the idea that we are one big family who are on board the spaceship Earth, then we are not so far from world peace. I was watching images from the space shuttle Atlantis the other day and was struck by the beauty of the Earth as it floated in space. I determined not to contaminate this beautiful planet, blessed of life and abundant water, with radioactivity.

Our children will lead the future of the Earth, therefore protecting children means protecting the Earth, ensuring the hope of the human race. Watching the floating Earth reminded me of Noah's ark. It circulates around the sun with all its might, carrying so many beautiful species and nature.

We Earth people seem to forget that we are all fellows who are on board the same ship, as well as one family and members of a common destiny. The sun shines equally on all countries, no matter what ideology or religious beliefs they have, nor how rich or poor they are. By receiving the blessing of the sun's love, the Earth is then able to cultivate all kinds of life. I believe that if we contaminate the Earth which is protected by the atmosphere by killing our fellows and families with radioactivity or contaminating the water which fosters life, it will lead to irreversible consequences that we will deeply regret.

Some people laugh at me, saying that world peace is an unrealistic pipe dream, but we should not give up our dreams or ideals so easily. If that dream or hope is for making someone happy and if you consistently make effort toward achieving it, I believe it will eventually come true. Japanese people learnt a lesson this time.

Our wish for world peace is strong, as Japan is the only country which has ever suffered atomic bombing. No woman wants her husband or son to go to war and kill others. There are many ordinary Japanese who still haven't given up trying to achieve peace.

Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support from all over the world in face of the disaster. Thank you so much for your donations, warm messages and prayers. We will never forget this, and we will keep making efforts toward world peace as I believe this is Japan's mission.

Let's make the future of the Earth full of love and sharing with everyone in the world.

Thank you.

(Speech at United Nations)

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2. Above and Beyond All Differences - How I became involved in peace issues -

I was raised in a Catholic environment when I was small. I went to a Catholic kindergarten where I was surrounded by a Holy Mother statue and the gentle smile of the Sisters. Then I went to a public elementary school which had no specific religious preference. I used to go to a Lutheran church near by in order to receive a reward for full attendance. I still remember some lines in the Bible I read at the time. It was a modest Protestant church with a pastor who gently told us "God would like us to love and share with each other." I never forgot that.

My junior high school and high school were both Protestant where there were Bible classes and we had a daily worship every morning. I was greatly influenced during this time by astronomy. I participated in the astronomy department as a club activity from the 8th to 12th grade where I would watch stars in the sky all the time. I was running around observing the moon, planets, sunspots and meteor showers with my astronomical telescope.

When I saw the Earth in a movie, I was so moved by its beauty, it's brilliant blue color and was also surprised to see there were no borders on it. Thinking of it now, it was a little ignorant of me to be thinking that way, but I was studying geography and was used to seeing a terrestrial globe with state borders all over it.

We were given this beautiful Earth by God so that we should love and share with each other, live peacefully and "give birth to many children and be prosperous" on it. Since then, I came to think that we, humans, are fighting egoistically and draw lines like a tattoo on this Earth which is the creation of God. I can understand the importance of politics and diplomacy, so I do not intend to call upon facile peace theory. However, I believe our mission, all those who live on this planet at this time, is to create a constructive future that our children can foresee with hope for happiness. I think the main reason why people can't stop war is because they cannot accept each other's differences, being different from their own interests.

I have five children. They have different characters and are all adorable no matter how clever or not. Even if they were all clever, it would not be exciting if they all had the same character. Differences in people's character make the relationship more fun.

Let's say this world is a flower garden of God, some people are roses and some others are violets each has a distinctive beauty of its own. Roses can only be roses. There are millions of different types of flowers of beautiful colors in God's garden. Difference makes them beautiful and is the reason for their existence.

I also see the whole world as an art of the greatest artist, God. That's why the stars in the universe are so stunning and deep-sea fish are breathtakingly beautiful. It's also like a grand puzzle he created. Each piece is each one of us, and doesn't become complete if a single piece is missing. No single person is unworthy of being born into this world. We exist because God wants us to.

So many young people commit suicide these days. They can't find a reason for their existence and deeply despair of emptiness. I would like to tell them "being born into this world is the reason for your existence," "you have unlimited potential a lot more than I do" and "just be yourself, be honest to yourself and live a life that your inner feelings lead you to." They struggle because they try to become someone else and not themselves. You can do anything if you try things for your life. I truly hope they appreciate their lives.

Not only humans but animals and plants are the children of God also who have blessed life on the mother Earth. Humans killing and fighting each other in the war is like killing our brothers and sisters in front of our mother. We should stop fighting because of the difference of race, religion and ideology. Let alone nuclear war that can cause a fatal damage to our mother Earth that would make it impossible for any life to live. We are threatened by this possibility world wide now.

I would like to let all the men know that what all women want is a society for our children and husbands where we can create a peaceful future in. No women want their loving husbands and children to kill people no matter what nationality or race. I hope humans are able to create a future where we can happily live with family and friends and pass it on to future generations.

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3. Hoping for "Love and Peace on Earth" - Let us ring the bell of peace together -

I would like to share my thoughts with you on the importance of life at this time. I had contemplated on this issue in my own way for sometime, but it was only after I became ill that I truly realized the importance of life. I'd taken it for granted that today would be just the same as yesterday that I would still be here in 1 year or 10 years. But when I found out it was not the case for me anymore, I finally understood the meaning and value of life.

My disease blocks the neurotransmission system that operates a function allowing motion and because it's progressive, I find some part of my body becomes impaired to function day and day. When it began to happen, I thought how delicate are our bodies that God gave us. It's still impossible for humankind to make the same functions with machines. We are only at the level of making some parts of it.

I was told by my doctor that "We cannot see or cure the deep part of the brain with modern medical technology" In fact, there is no effective medicine for it either.

There are many other incurable diseases like mine. I felt how useless human beings are but felt a sense of awe at the same time for our complex and delicate bodies that have such a wide area the modern medical technology cannot yet reach. I was moved to know the God for being such a great scientist.

I took it for granted that I could walk or speak in my life. When I started to have problems with my body, I regret not living more fully my life while I could walk and speak, so promised myself not to waste my limited time anymore.

I questioned myself about what purpose I should use my time for and the answer was to devote myself to building a peaceful and safe future for children. I also felt a sense of gratitude to God, for the wonder and greatness of life. Actually, it was more of a gratitude for the earth that allows and protects all the living creatures to do their workings of life rather than an invisible God. That gratitude led to the dream of a peaceful future for humanity and the earth.

When I think how significant life is, any living being is equally very important regardless of what it is - animal, human or plant. Even more so amongst us humans.

We are all brothers and sisters of the same family who are born on this planet we call Mother Earth. Anyone who lives on Earth and fights with others then it is just like brothers fighting in front of their mother.

I strongly feel we cannot let down our Mother Earth by hurting her any more. Wherever a person lives, having a different color of skin or eyes, having a different culture, believing in a different religion, if we remember that we are all of one family who were given life and supported by Earth, then any war can never have any real meaning. War is not even an answer to provide a safe place for our children's future.

When I look at the world now, I see an uneasy state of society. I wonder where humans are going like this and if we can leave the future of love and dreams to the children.

It is not my intention to talk about on easy ideal theory, but I think it's necessary to have a forum for discussing the way forward of mankind without individual merits such as "Where should humans be heading to or are they willing to?"

Then, it reminded me the idea of going to the UN and speaking in front of people from all around the world. The system of the UN is the most valuable one that mankind ever created. When the diplomats of the different countries meet, they can only prioritize the interests of their own countries. However, we are facing a crisis on a global level that we have to think of solutions for. We need to go beyond the differences of nation, religion and race and recognize that we have a common destiny - that of living on the same planet, the spaceship Earth.

I led my life as an ordinary house wife with 5 children. Half of humankind are ordinary women like me. No woman wants her loving son, husband or boyfriend to kill others no matter what their country or religion. Also it is distressful and sad to lose our loved ones.

For sure, we agree with all women on this point of view, no matter if they are Christian, Buddhist or Islamic. There is no god who appreciates murder either.

Now, I am in poor physical condition so that I cannot move my body or speak any more, but I would like to call out to get together to protect our beloved families. This is a call from me, as an ordinary woman, a mother and a person who is living in the same age to all the women in the world. Furthermore, I also wish to ask the men responsible in leading our societies to take us in the direction that establishes a life that will be secure and peaceful in the future.

I am opposed to the enforcement by the use of power or violence for the realization of peace even if it is in the name of any kind of justice. Violence causes violence, because it incurs the hatred of the people afflicted. Our human history is proof of this continuing repetition, isn't it? We are the same family, brothers and sisters, living on this Earth. I think now is the time we have to love each other based on this belief. Overcoming our various differences, and with a perspective from inside our hearts that we are all children of Earth living on the same planet, we want to unite ourselves as one and leave the Earth to our children, the future generation, as a planet to be able to live on happily in the future.

If the next world war breaks out, the earth will be on the edge of being destroyed. It will be too late to turn back time, once the earth becomes the dead planet where no lives can survive.

Please let us not create a future of such terrible circumstances for all our children that we love.

Let us dream of the prospect of an "Earth of Love and Peace", everyone hand in hand, men and women together, and let us start to ring the bell of peace (in the UN) together.

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4. My Prayer in the Light of Art - Why I started an art group -

I would like to share the story of how I started my art group. I have always liked theatrical plays. I think of all people on the Earth as the same family and my prayer is for peace of unity amongst all loving people.

My prayer is primarily giving gratitude to the Earth.

Art has evolved as a way of expression of prayer and gratitude to God since ancient times. Messages behind paintings and music can reach people's hearts beyond the language barriers and make people happy.

I recently had a chance to see great dance performances and paintings, and hear beautiful songs at the Dwyer Center of Martin Luther King Foundation. I was amazed to discover what a beautiful element of God was expressed in the African-American culture, and the difference between their culture and Japanese culture, especially the use of color in painting. I actually prefer their way of using blue rather than ours to be honest.

Although I have never visited their country, I could feel the breath of people in Africa and the beauty of their piety through one particular painting. I was moved to be able to encounter a different culture in real life. I would never be able to travel to Africa with my disabled body but I received a message full of love from the painting. Art has a special power like that.

There are millions of people who have great skills in music or dance out there while our group consists of amateurs basically. Their performance skills might not be so impressive, but there are passionate messages of unification such as being one earth family or a prayer for world peace. For me, this is the most important thing, to send out the messages, more than anything else.

People often tell me "Peace theory is just idealism which is so vague and has no feasibility", but having ideals and dreams can be an important energy in order for us to live our lives. I have found that art is the best medium for us to express love, ideals and dreams through. The greatest arts from ancient Greece or the Renaissance movement of the middle ages are all full of devotion to God.

I just think we humans should now regain our faith towards an invisible God regardless of what religion.

Mankind has advanced in the last few hundreds years with materialistic views which are based upon principles of science and economic logic. Our current situation might have been an aftershock of the heavy superstitious period of the middle ages, but we are at a crucial point now and should make the effort to keep a good balance between science and economic efficiency and the virtue of piety and go towards unification.

This is especially important for Japan, since many Japanese have an antipathy to piety after their defeat in World War II. I think the reconstruction of Japan was probably backed up with the principle of economy and so progressed rapidly. However, living here in Japan I have realized that we cannot be happy only by material advancement.

I would like to send out my dream and ideal of making a future of hope with all the people in the world as we are the same living creatures living on the same planet through the same art form. I believe the light is necessary for the time now which is so full of distress. The world is covered by sorrow and a pain of tragic reality.

If all the people of the world can put their hearts together to consider what needs to be done for the Earth, as a single earth family, regardless of language, race or religion, I'm sure war and nuclear weapons will disappear.

I would like to shout "Let's protect the future of our loving children" if I could. I cannot speak now, so I need someone who can express it through art to send out my message on my behalf. I will be very grateful if art can make humankind have some bright vision for the future and strength in order to regain dreams and ideals.

I hope we can raise an awareness of a Renaissance for humankind to return to God once again. I would love to see a spiritual flow that encourages humans to regain the humbleness which we lost in the science omnipotent principle and that we again would acknowledge ourselves as children of God to return to God.

This is my prayer and I would like to send it with art to all people on the Earth.

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5. Starting To Live As A Person With Physical Disabilities

My disease started just before I was 50 years old. The name of the disease is called "multiple system atrophy(MSA)". The doctor told me that the type I have is "Striatonigral degeneration" and it is a fatal disease and it takes away your physical abilities one by one, until it will eventually affect my lungs and breathing. The doctor told me "Your life expectancy is about 5-6 years" from the time the disease began. 6 years have already past and I cannot speak, roll over, nor walk. Over this time, I have truly realized that I used to live with such a blessed body. I have been really amazed by the fact that human beings cannot fully appreciate the meaning and happiness of being "normal". For me, my illness has given me the chance to observe and gain the full realization of how amazing our bodies are; it is as if I was given the opportunity to step outside myself and see more clearly.

These days people call me a person with physical disabilities and I am categorized as disabled but I do not really feel so. Of course, it is inconvenient that my body does not move but I can live my life in a way that is more honest to myself, making true friendships, meeting lovely people, much more than when I was healthy. So I started to think that inconvenience is not at all unhappy and it really depends on how you live.

I had been married for 30 years but it broke easily when I started not to be able to move because of my disease. I think there were also other reasons why the marriage had to end. It may be just that my disease showed that our relationship was not strong enough to get over my becoming disabled.

The hardest thing in becoming physically disabled was that I could no longer have the right to be a parent, because people with physical disabilities cannot even look after themselves. As my body does not move, I cannot do house work nor look after my children. I have lost my dignity as a woman. Having said that, God has left me some things I can still do even with this body. I never wanted to become resentful for the rest of my life. Instead, I made a conscious choice that in the time left to me I would live it fully.

When I began to change my attitude to one of being grateful and of praying for everyone's happiness, then many people started to help me in ways beyond what I could imagine. I was amazed that other people were willing to give, whereas in the past I used to get disappointed when I asked even for the simplest of help, people would hesitate to do even this little thing.

Through all the hardship, God is watching over me without fail. Before my illness, I had been developing my view on the peace movement and thought this is the way I would live my life and as my disease progressed, I began voicing this as much as I could. In my case, having to become disabled made me realize the importance of this issue of bringing Peace to the world. In fact this issue of bringing Peace to the world applies to everyone whether able bodied or with a disability.

I used to be healthier than average, I was blessed to have many children and I was given a happy life. I thanked God vaguely, but on looking back I can see I was not hungry enough to live my life, I was not focusing on the Now. I have since realized the time has come to understand this momentous point in our human history, the importance of Now, of Today and the significance of the way we choose to live our lives.

I think the life we are given is irreplaceable with or without disabilities. Nowadays many older women are strongly encouraged to have an abortion because they are told there is a chance the baby will be born disabled. My understanding is if the life was not supposed to be lived, then they would not be born. If someone was born to this world with a disability, it means that the one has something to do in this world.

This is so clearly demonstrated in the example of the most admirable Ms Helen Keller*, who was profoundly deaf and blind and yet she became a beacon to us all. Without her disability, she would not have met and worked with Anne Sullivan and because she experienced the world without light, only through their work together did she find out the importance of the "light"; her successful overcoming of her hardships gives us such a shining example.

We human beings can easily forget gratitude for this gift of life. We often cannot appreciate the happiness that we have when we are healthy and able bodied. So for all of us, people with disabilities can give direction to many others, by coming out in public with courage and stating what they feel without hesitation.

If people stop and wonder why a person with a disability looks so happy, even though they see the one is disabled, then if that person's life can be a useful, a trigger for others to see how they could live their life more fully, then it gives meaning for all disabled people to be active.

There is a saying in Japan, "living with tears is one life, and living with laughter is also one life". I prefer for myself and other people to live our lives, laughing happily together and supporting each other, rather than a life with tears. When we laugh I feel God smiles with us too.

Thank you very much.

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6. Peace and Unification of Religions

Since my childhood, I have been expecting it would become a peaceful world eventually. It is because Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad were not wrong, and they seemed to be very attractive for me. Then why those who have faith in them cannot be in peace and happiness? If those people have the mind that they admit only their own religion, I think God will feel sad.

I have not been baptized, so I am not a believer of a particular religion. But I was so impressed when I saw the news that Pope Francis kneeled and washed the foot of a Muslim. I thought he was a person who showed an example that the one who led the people must serve those who followed him. I think that any religion was initiated to lead the mass of people to the faith to God happily. So I have been wondering why it hasn't been able to make a nation in peace and safe. Every time I saw tragic battles related religions, I was overwhelmed by grief.

I think it is the time for us, the people living on the earth, to awake as the earth humans. Like the sun for the earth, I think the love of God is what gives the energy of love without discriminating specific nations. Even though there are differences of skin colors, nationalities, and cultures, from the viewpoint of the children of the earth, I think animals and plants are also the earth children who are given the lives and made alive by the earth. So, the environmental destruction means that we kill our companions kept alive together by the earth.

Violence causes violence, and suppression by force produces hatred.

The humans should have learned it so far.

Nevertheless, the threat of war is growing again.

If war break out this time, it will burn down the whole earth.

Killing each other countless times, where are we humans going?

Since the latter of the 19th century, the humans have been living in the materialism of scientism. It was useful to modernize the life, however, I think we have lost the importance of spirit, the relation between humans and nature, and the connection with God.

If we build a peace, I think it is wholly dependent upon whether we human can notice that plants and animals are the same children of the earth, and all of us share the same destiny, standing on the perception we are brothers and sisters given the lives and made alive by the earth. If we notice it, we should not be able to destruct the environment.

When we think about the next way the humans should go, I think it is to unify as one beyond the differences. When religious denominations are united as one acknowledging their differences and the meaning of their existence, I think all the problems will be melted in the idea called "love".

At the time of the Meiji Restoration, Japan had closed the country to foreign commerce, but Ryoma Sakamoto and others raised the awareness of the stance of Japan in the world. Likewise, I would like to promote the awareness that we are living on the earth in the universe. When we stand on such a viewpoint, we cannot kill each other.

At this moment, I wish to ask a favor of the religious leaders of the world.

Beyond the boundary, now at this time, I would like you to join hands.

I would like you to extend your hand from the side of the leader first.

I have been going around to ask this.

Last year I met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and I received his blessing. He kindly accepted my thought with a look full of love.

There are the persons who are listening to my thought.

I would like to convey to you, young and bright fellows.

There are infinite things you can do for the futute of the earth.

I believe the bright and young persons like you would have things to do unlimitedly for the future of the earth.

It is the baton of life I would like to hand over to you.

Everybody gathered here, let's make the future of the earth together.

Thank you for listening today, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you all.

(Speech at Kagoshima University)

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7. I Convey to the Women All Over the World

Now we are living in an age of unprecedented crisis. Missiles are deployed directing to the United States, and other major cities are also targeted. There arises the scorching smell of battles which we have been afraid of. Most of leaders of the world seem to think only their own country is safe, but the earth is a globe as you know. I think we are sharing the same destiny like a family, as far as we are allowed to live on the earth.

We women have been leaving the matter of peace to the men too much, haven't we? Most of women have given it up for a long time considering that it is a wasted effort to get involved with it except some special women.

But, I think it is not good for us, ordinary women, to look away from it. Now, shall we join hands together in order to protect our planet Earth?

We women should share the same wish beyond our own country, culture, and religion. When we raise our voices as "Don't let our beloved sons and husbands and lovers die. Don't let them kill each other!", the situation will change. Because the half of the world is us, women.

I think we must not forget that we are given our lives by the earth and allowed to give birth to and raise our children. If we pollute the earth by the radioactivity, there is no way to recover it. To leave the promising earth to the children, let us join our hands.

How about starting what we can do now? Mother's thought is inherited into the children's thought. When we raise our children saying "All living on the earth is a single family. Let's live loving each other.", I think the ones with such a mind increase at the next generation, even if only slightly.

Even if it is only us women, shall we pray uniting our minds as "May our beloved family be all right. Please protect the future of the earth."? It is "the prayer of love and peace". I would like to propose this prayer.

There is no need for something particular. The most important thing is to recognize that we are one family as humans on earth, and to be able to become one loving each other. For that purpose, could you give us a hand?

Please pray at noon.

Why not connect with each other by praying hand in hand together, and leave the safe and promising future to the children?

I would be grateful if you could lend us a hand.

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8. Project of Golden Apple

There is a story of the golden apple in Greek myths. Zeus asked a young man Paris, "Among the three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, who is the most worthy of possessing the golden apple?" The choice of Paris of that time caused eventually to happen the war between Greek and Troy. It was a nuisance to people around, however, considering the golden apple is the earth itself, it might be a reasonable story.

When we stand on the understanding that we are brothers and sisters who are given lives and brought up by the earth, and we are the ones sharing the same destiny boarded on the starship "Earth" at the same age, the earth is the one which resembles a mother, and which we have to take good care of.

However, we have been always hurting the earth, haven't we? Environmental destructions caused the water pollution, air pollution, and further soil pollution. Recently, there is a nation being blamed for the water pollution, but the water is really the body fluids of the earth and the source of life.

Further, there are nations deploying the missiles directing to other countries. It is aiming to target from the earth to the earth, in order to destroy the mother earth. When we are going to oppose against the violence by the violence, and to control it by the power, I think it doesn't work.

Instead of using a means of wars, for us as ordinary persons, how about expressing a prayer with the performance taking hands together?

At the place where we are at noon, we stop like a stop-motion. And from the place of noon on the earth, a prayer of gratitude to the earth, a prayer of love and peace, is risen up one after another, and a golden aura is to cover the whole earth. This is the plan.

Though each one is ordinary, I would like to value the thoughts each one is loving the earth and wants to leave the better future of the earth to the children. Someone might say "It is an empty dream." But we must not give up the dream there is a chance.

Because we are not politicians nor persons in authority, we can freely insist what is a matter of course.

Most of the people on the earth are ordinary people.

Why not we ordinary people unite as one to appeal "love and peace"?

At the moment, the shiny golden earth in Greek myths restores the heart of peace again.

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Noriko Inamori