A-bomb survivors to appeal for nuclear abolition at international conference in Mexico

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

On January 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) announced that it will dispatch a Japanese delegation of six people, including A-bomb survivors and a doctor, to an international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that will be held in Nayarit, Mexico under the auspices of the Mexican government. The conference will take place on February 13 and 14. The members of the delegation will convey the inhumanity of nuclear arms from the perspective of the A-bomb experience and the medical impact on human beings.

The Mexican government will carry on the spirit of the international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that was held in Oslo by the Norwegian government last March. For the first time at a conference of this kind, A-bomb survivors will be offered the opportunity to speak out about the consequences of the atomic bombing and their wish for nuclear abolition. Masaki Koyanagi, 16, a third-generation A-bomb survivor and a first-year student at Kwassui High School in the city of Nagasaki, will deliver a speech in her role as a high school peace ambassador. Toshiki Fujimori, 69, assistant secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations, will also address the conference. Other speakers at the session will include A-bomb survivors now residing in Mexico and Canada.

Masao Tomonaga, director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Genbaku Hospital, will join a session to discuss the impact of nuclear weapons on countries and regions. He is scheduled to report on the current conditions of A-bomb survivors who still suffer from A-bomb diseases. The three other members of the delegation are Yayoi Tsuchida, deputy secretary general of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, who will serve as an interpreter for the A-bomb survivors, and two officials from MOFA.

Meanwhile, Akira Kawasaki, executive committee member of Peace Boat, a Tokyo-based NGO, and others who will attend the conference also held a news conference at the Diet building on the same day and announced their plans for the conference. Chiho Kozakura, 16, a resident of Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima and a first-year student at Hiroshima University Senior High School, will take part in the conference as a high school peace ambassador. Expressing her enthusiasm for the event, she said, “I’d like to contribute to creating the foundations for a world without nuclear weapons.”

(Originally published on January 31, 2014)