nder the strong leadership of John Paul II, the Catholic Church has been preparing the coming of the next millennium during the last few years. The Jubilee 2000 movement spread across cultures and countries to originate various International ecumenical moves that helped to create hopeful signs of worldsolidarity. One of them was the movement to abolish the international debt of poor countries. This has evolved to fight poverty, mainly in African, Asian and Latin American countries. This Christian inspired movement leads to forgiveness and reconciliation in industrial as well as in developing regions.


ith the closing of the century we are now celebrating the 20th anniversary of a new international apostolate, the Jesuit Refugee Service,lunched by Fr. Arrupe in 1980.

The occasion to make an appeal to Jesuits from all over the world at the time was the tragedy of the Vietnamese Boat people. The situation of refugees has become increasingly critical everywhere, so much that the 21st century starts being a refugees' century. Close to us in Japan we have critical refugee situations in East Timor, Burma and North Korea.

econciliation" is a very frequently heard expression nowadays to open the way for permanent solutions to most of our human conflicts. This key word could become the symbol of hope for the approaching new century.
With best greetings from the staff of the Social Center
15 December, 2000