Citizens’ groups to hold international conference on nuclear-free world on 70th anniversary of atomic bombing

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On May 18, citizens’ groups of Hiroshima and Nagasaki formed an executive committee with the aim of hosting an international conference in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings. The conference, scheduled from October 10 to 12, 2015, will focus on the reality of nuclear damage in promoting a nuclear-free future. The committee will invite nuclear-affected sufferers from overseas to attend, and the participants at the conference will consider a road map to realize “a world without nuclear weapons.”

On May 18, the committee convened its first meeting at the Hiroshima Central Community Center in downtown Hiroshima. About 40 people from Hiroshima and Nagasaki attended the meeting and discussed the outline of the conference. They decided that accounts of nuclear-affected sufferers will be heard both at a plenary session and at other sessions, and discussion will be held on nuclear issues. On the final day of the conference, the participants will seek to adopt a charter on the human rights of the world’s radiation-affected sufferers.

The committee will call on victims of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant and former crew members of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (“The Lucky Dragon No. 5”), a tuna fishing boat that was exposed to radioactive fallout from a U.S. nuclear test, as well as A-bomb survivors, to join the forum. The committee will also consider inviting about 10 people from overseas, including victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident and Iraqi doctors who are well-acquainted with the damage caused by depleted uranium munitions.

The committee has chosen three people to serve as co-chairs, including Katsuaki Aoki, a doctor and a co-representative of the “Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA),” a citizens’ group in Hiroshima which proposed holding the conference. At a news conference after their first meeting, Dr. Aoki said, “We hope that Hiroshima and Nagasaki will join hands and raise our voices to achieve a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.”

(Originally published on May 19, 2014)