/ 20. December 2010 06:00
The Augustinian Friars serving in our Mission in Japan minister to the small but faithful Catholic population of the country. Shinto and Buddhism are the two major religions of Japan, with Christianity practiced by a small minority of the population. According to Catholic-hierarchy.org, less than 0.4% of Japan's total population practice Catholicism (statistics from 2005). Compared with Peru, where nearly 88% of the population is Catholic, this is a stark contrast!
Still, Japan is a country with nearly 128 million people, so even this small percent of the population represents 509,000 faithful Catholics. Our friars serve this population, while also extending their ministries outward. For example, the schools run by the Augustinians in Nagasaki and Fukuoka are heavily attended by non-Catholics who respect the good education of the schools. In Tokyo, the Augustinians run social service programs for people regardless of faith, including food distribution to the homeless and outreach to immigrants.