In 1982, Yoshito and Hisako Kato returned to Japan to begin the new ministry of Word of Life in Osaka. They immediately started translating the Bible club materials into Japanese and started clubs in four different churches, holding leadership training meetings each month. They also started camps during the summer and Intensive Study Marathons during the Spring, Summer, and Winter school vacations. In 1990, the Kato's moved operations from Osaka to Tokyo. In 1999, Tomoo and Kaori Koike joined the Word of Life team and moved to Sendai, the northern part of Japan to begin Bible clubs. Camps continue to be run in Sendai, and at various places around Japan. In 2007, Word of Life began, SYME, an ESL program for High School graduates to attend Word of Life Bible Institute. Since the beginning of the ESL program, over 100 Japanese students have attended Word of Life Bible Institute in New York, Florida, South Korea, and Hungary. In January of 2013, Yoshito retired after 31 years of ministry and Randal & Dale Gilmore transitioned into the Director's role for Word of Life Japan. In 2014, the Cross Cultural Internship program was started allowing ministry minded college students to earn their degree overseas while participating in active ministry with Word of Life Japan. In 2016, a creative design department was added to the ministry.
While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan has rapidly absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Japan is located in eastern Asia, it is an island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. With an area of 378,000 sq km, slightly smaller than California, it is home to 127 million people of whom 84% observe either Shinto or Buddhist, and only 0.7% claim some form of Christianity.