In June I traveled to South Korea on a solidarity trip with delegates from the Philippines, Okinawa and the United States, to learn about the current situations of different struggles against US and South Korean military expansion.
It’s not even two months later and I’m already on another similar sort of solidarity trip. For the next ten days I’ll be in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan learning about the history of nuclear damage to this country and the peoples from these cities, but I’ll also be speaking to and presenting with people from other countries about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the need for the world to finally sum up the courage to abolition them. The conference that I’m attending is the 2010 World Conference Against Atom and Hydrogen Bombs. There are more than a hundred delegates from at last count 23 countries, 70 + NGOs and 9 national governments. The conference will be talking about nuclear weapons from all angles, how to fight against existing battles for compensation for populations affected by nuclear testing or blasts, solidarity with those who have struggles against nuclear weapons in their countries and even how to promote a culture of peace throughout the world.
I intend to post a lot about this conference, but so much of it will depend on whether or not I can find reliable internet access. It’s funny, because in both South Korea and Japan, I visited two of the most “wired” countries in the world and yet constantly found myself without being able to get on the internet or find a place where I could use a computer to go online.
Before going I wanted to share one of the statements that came out of last year’s conference:
Let Us Make 2009 World Conference
a Springboard to Create a Worldwide Groundswell
for Nuclear Weapons Abolition toward 2010
“For a Nuclear Weapon-Free, Peaceful and Just World” -- to realize this common goal of humankind, we will convene the 2009 World Conference against A & H Bombs in the two A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from August 3 to 9. We cordially invite all those people in the world as well as in Japan who share this goal to take part in and support the World Conference.
Toward the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which will be held in New York in the spring of 2010, this year’s World Conference is expected to play a special role.
“Abolish nuclear weapons”, the call of the Hibakusha, A-bomb survivors since the day of the bombings in August 1945, has urged people to stand up to this task and moved the world. In the U.S., the world’s biggest nuclear power, the new administration was inaugurated, with the pledge by President Obama, saying, “America seeks a world without nuclear weapons”. The voices for the abolition of nuclear weapons are now raised by not only non-aligned nations and non-nuclear states, but also by the governments and cabinet ministers of nuclear powers as well as the members of their military alliances.
A campaign aimed to eliminate all nuclear weapons was launched by past presidents of the U.S. and Russia, and Nobel Prize laureates. In the U.K. and Germany, too, former high government officials and generals are saying that they do not need a nuclear deterrent, and U.S. nuclear warheads should be withdrawn.
It is our common efforts over many years that have created this change. And now is the time to make these efforts bear fruit. This year’s World Conference will be a historical Conference in promoting a total ban and abolition of nuclear weapons, rejecting any attempt to turn back the tide of history. Let us make the 2009 World Conference a big success, where a variety of representatives of governments, NGOs, anti-nuclear and peace movements from all over the world will join along with the delegates of grass-roots movements and the Hibakusha across Japan, and together will call for and develop concerted actions in solidarity on a global scale.
This Conference will also be an opportunity for us, the participants from Japan, with national experience of the A-bombing, to renew our determination to make Japan take a leading role in the global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and observe the “Three Non-nuclear Principles” and Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, withdrawing from under the “U.S. Nuclear Umbrella”.
Since the first World Conference held in 1955, the movement against A & H Bombs has played a critical role of informing the world of the reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, preventing the use of nuclear weapons, and enhancing the public opinion for a total ban on and abolition of nuclear weapons. Our grass-roots movement has made the voice for nuclear weapons abolition the majority opinion both in the civil society and in the field of international politics, and continues to develop.
We are determined to make the 2009 World Conference a great success in order to ensure this trend and achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Therefore, we cordially reiterate our call to take part in and give support to the 2009 World Conference, and to cooperate with us in various activities, including the signature campaign for the “Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World” toward the 2010 NPT Review Conference, A-bomb exhibitions held in many different places, and the nation-wide peace march starting in May toward Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The 63rd General Meeting of the Organizing Committee of
the World Conference against A & H Bombs