The Japanese are one of the most unreached people groups. Less than 1% of the 126 million Japanese people are Christians. The vast majority have not heard the Gospel message. 1,700 of the 2,500 towns of up to 30,000 residents have no church. There are about 7,900 churches with an average attendance of 35 people, amounting to one church for 16,000 people.
84% of Japanese claim to adhere to Shinto and Buddhism, but most are superstitious and unsure of their beliefs. Feelings of hopelessness and isolation have caused many to turn to suicide, which is the leading cause of death among 15 to 39 year olds. Over 25,000 people commit suicide annually, amounting to about 70 people per day!
Many feel empty and are in search of some sort of purpose and meaning in life. Japan has about 183,000 registered cult groups and is known by some as the cult capital of the world. A moral vacuum has caused many to turn to living for the moment and indulging in various pleasures to find an escape. Alcoholism, drug addiction and addiction to video games and social media have become major social problems. Japan is the #1 provider of child pornography and abortion is commonly used as a means of birth control.
Obligation to satisfy the demands of employers in a culture where conformity is a moral obligation makes it hard for polite, hard-working Japanese to openly accept the responsibilities that they feel would be placed on them by following the teachings of the Gospel. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the Truth and bring a strong conviction of sin.
The youth are turning away from the values and work ethic of their parents, and are embracing materialistic pleasures rather than the true and living God. Please pray that economic instability and fears of the future will shake many out of their complacency.
Demonic forces associated with idolatry in temples and ancestor worship in homes have never been decisively challenged. The social pressure to compromise and commit idolatry is very strong. Please pray that the church will recognize this evil and teach more effectively against it, and that the believers will have the courage not to compromise.
The Problem of Hopelessness
A serious problem facing all ages of society in Japan is hopelessness. Many feel helpless and have no sense of purpose. 11% of Japanese wish that they had never been born. 85% of young people wonder why they exist.
After World War II Emperor Hirohito declared to the nation that he was not god. This resulted in a deep sense of loss and betrayal, which caused most to feel utterly hopeless and skeptical of putting their trust in any god or religion.
Hopelessness is also the result of the teaching of evolution in the schools and the conclusion that men are no more than part of the animal kingdom.
The solution to this hopelessness can only be found in our Creator God. Pray that God would comfort the hopeless and give them a true revelation of Himself. Pray that workers of Japan Mission would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we seek to help those without hope.