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Adventist Health Message Reaches People in Japan through Radio Waves
April 27, 2018

“Health for Every Day! A 10-minute supplement for your mind and body! This health message is for you and your loved ones.”

Every morning, Monday through Friday, for the first time in the history of Japan Union Conference (JUC), an Adventist health radio program is heard by many non-Christian Japanese. Only one other time, in 1952, has the Adventist church had a radio presence in Japan. That was when the Voice of Prophecy aired a program through Radio Tokyo (now TBS) to reach people who were interested in spiritual talk.  However, this time the goal is to target those who are interested in health, which many Japanese are. 

In March 2017, Adventist World Radio planned radio broadcasting in preparation for the Total Member Involvement (TMI) evangelistic meetings in the Philippines. This met with such great success that the same strategy was made for the TMI evangelistic meeting project in Japan for May 2018. However, radio stations in Japan are quite strict about broadcasting programs with religious content. We had challenges from the start.

First, we contacted Tokyo FM which is listed among the top five most popular FM radio stations in the Tokyo area. In spite of the high broadcasting price, we knew that this station would reach a large percentage of the population. What we did not know was that, even though the focus of our programs is health, just the mere mention of our church or the Adventist Hospital as the sponsor was enough to make the station flatly refuse any negotiation with us. We were back to square one.  

After several attempts with different major FM and AM stations, we kept coming to dead ends. The only station that did not mind our church connection would not allow advertisements or announcements for health seminars.

We knew God wanted us to reach out, but somehow the direction we were trying to go was not in HIS will. We realized that we had been thinking about how to promote our program to radio stations. Our focus had somehow become how to reach radio stations, but it was supposed to be to how to reach people! So our prayer changed. Instead of asking for our desires to be fulfilled, we asked for God’s will to be done. 

Jesus instructed His disciples on how to do evangelism. Acts 1:8 says: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

This is the way to evangelize. This is what Jesus said to his disciples before he went up to Heaven. First, go to the city that is nearest to you; then expand more and more.

Exodus 4:2 says: “And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.”

God asked Moses what was in his hand. And Moses said, A rod that I use every day for my work.

“What do we have in our hand?” we asked ourselves. We already had a small radio program using Radio NIKKEI short wave since 2000. We did not think people listen to short wave radio, but short wave can cover the entire area of Japan. After several meetings and lots of prayers, we were impressed to try this short wave radio station.

As soon as we contacted Radio NIKKEI, the door swung wide open. Radio NIKKEI said that using the name of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a sponsor was no problem. It was okay to announce our health seminars. They created a website page for our program for free. They even put an advertisement in their newspaper for free. And the cost for broadcasting was significantly lower than the other stations.  When we sent our sample program to them, they accepted our program within two weeks and in another two weeks, our radio program was ready to go on air.

That is how, in November 2017, the first-ever health radio program in the history of JUC began. Two months later, seven community FM stations in Tokyo began broadcasting our health radio program as well. Since the first broadcast in November 2017, the listening audience on NIKKEI’s website has grown to more than 30,000, not counting the additional community FM stations in Tokyo.  We have no idea how many are actually listening on air. 

Last month, we had a report from a church member in Osaka, which is about 500 km south of Tokyo. One day while she was outside cleaning her front yard, her elderly neighbor came over to talk to her. He was so excited about a health radio program that he had been listening to, and he wanted to share some of the wonderful health tips with her. He said that he listens to the business stock market information on Radio NIKKEI and had started hearing this health program too. The more he listened, the more he could not wait to share the health tips with someone. When he discovered that the church member knew the DJ personally, he was even more excited. The church member invited him to come to church with her, and he has been coming ever since.

We found out about this story because this church members’s daughter is a friend of the DJ. Who would have thought that there were listeners in Osaka? Since our target was primarily the Tokyo area, this story was a great surprise to us.

It is hard to find out exactly how many are listening to the program, but God knows those who are seeking. We just need to trust God who is faithful. Our radio program “Health for Every Day!” is somewhere, somehow reaching people today.    

Please keep this program in your prayers!

Atsushi Yamamuro

JUC Assistant Health Ministries Director