When we talk about Japan as a mission field, usually we need to start by explaining just why Japan is such an urgent case. We must start by breaking the embedded images of starving kids in Africa, slums in the largest cities, and prostitution in Ethiopia. Japan may not have that much poverty, or even crime, but they don't have any Christians either!
- Japan has a population of about 126 million people, of which about 121 million are Japanese. The country as a whole contains an evangelical population of only 0.6%, and is declining by 0.4% per year! As an unreached people group, the Japanese of Japan are the second largest. We have an excellent opportunity to see the Gospel grow through a church-planting movement!
- The social and economic outlook for Japan is disparaging at best. A declining population (from 126 million at present to 107 million in 2040), weakening currency, and aging workforce are all reason for concern. As Japan recovers from the tsunami and nuclear disasters in 2011, there is not much good predicted in the future. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ will provide the true joy and outlook on life that the Japanese are seeking.
- Approximately 21,000 Japanese commit suicide each year, but also the highest cause of death for people age 15-39.
- Hikikomori, or isolationists, number about 700,000. Social pressure and video games often drive young adults to isolate themselves to their rooms for years at a time.
- CNN reports Tokyo to be one of the most lustful cities in Asia. Japan hosts a sex industry valued at US$30 billion.
- Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Japanese constitution. Also, Japan has for years granted visas to religious workers. We believe we should take advantage of this window of opportunity to freely enter the country and proclaim the Gospel.
- Prayercast states that over 80% of Japanese claim no personal religion. However, in such a conformist culture, the majority follow in the footsteps of Buddhist and Shintoist belief systems. In reality, religious loyalties in Japan could be described as 80% Shinto, 68% Buddhist, and 24% New Religion!
- Tokyo is the 3rd most expensive city to live in the world for American expatriates.
- Japan is merely the geographic size of California, with 3.3 times as many people! It boasts the largest metropolitan area in the world, Tokyo/Yokohama, with over 38 million people!
- Most Japanese has no biblical knowledge or have even heard of the idea of a Creator God.
- Christianity is most often associated with western thought, and even after 500 years in Japan, struggles to be perceived as capable of becoming truly Japanese.
- Over 70% of churches in Japan has less than 30 members. Also, membership is 87% female. The church needs active men and laypeople to take the responsibility to evangelize.
- Japan needs more long-term missionaries. Japanese language and culture is difficult and requires time to learn.