New “High School Student Peace Ambassadors” eager to convey nuclear abolition message from A-bombed city

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On June 5, Yuuri Nakamura, 17, and Misaki Katayama, 15, who were chosen to serve as the 17th annual High School Student Peace Ambassadors to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons, took part in a press conference at Hiroshima City Hall, where they expressed their determination to convey the aspirations of the A-bombed city. Ms. Nakamura is a third-year student at Daimon High School and a resident of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, and Ms. Katayama is a first-year student at Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima High School and a resident of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture.

This is the second straight year that Ms. Nakamura applied for the program. “I’d like to learn more about the reality of the damage caused by the atomic bombing in order to communicate how the war brought sorrow to so many people,” she said.

Ms. Katayama, whose grandmother is an A-bomb survivor, having entered the city after the blast, said, “The reason nuclear weapons haven’t been abolished is because there are so many people who don’t realize how horrible these weapons are. Based on my grandmother’s experience, I plan to tell people the fact that the sorrow and health concerns of the survivors have continued to this day.”

  The program of selecting High School Student Peace Ambassadors was launched in 1998 by citizens’ groups based in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year’s ambassadors were chosen in May in Hiroshima, covering high school students in Hiroshima Prefecture. Two students were selected from among 23 applicants.

Ms. Nakamura and Ms. Katayama, along with 19 other High School Student Peace Ambassadors from 12 prefectures, including Nagasaki and Fukushima prefectures, will assume their titles at a meeting held in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, on June 15. In addition to speaking at the United Nations European Headquarters, located in Geneva, Switzerland, in August, their one-year tenure will include such activities as a signature drive to gather support for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on June 6, 2014)