First “International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” is observed

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

On September 26, the first “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” nuclear-related events, organized by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), and Peace Boat, a Tokyo-based NGO, were held in Tokyo. The Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) released a statement, lending momentum to the movement seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Some 90 people attended a conference held at the Diet Building in Tokyo that was organized by Gensuikyo. Michiko Kodama, 76, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor living in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, stated, “A-bomb survivors know firsthand that tremendous damage would result if a nuclear weapon is used.”

Annette Note, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Marshall Islands in Japan, attended the conference. A hydrogen bomb test was conducted by the United States 60 years ago at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Ms. Note said that their land and communities were lost because of U.S. nuclear ambitions, and yet the United States and the world are forgetting about their plight.

Peace Boat held a forum for discussion at Aoyama Gakuin University located in Shibuya Ward. Akira Kawasaki, executive committee member of Peace Boat, offered commentary on the world’s nuclear affairs and the movement seeking the start of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention.

Nihon Hidankyo released a statement which said: “We make a strong appeal for nuclear weapons to be eliminated while the A-bomb survivors are still alive.” The statement emphasized that the present generation must carry out its duty to realize a world without nuclear weapons so that subsequent generations will be able to continue living on “this beautiful blue planet.”

The idea of declaring September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons came from the first high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations General Assembly, which was held on September 26, 2013. Led by nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which actively advocates banning nuclear weapons, the resolution was adopted on December 5, 2013. Japan, which relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, abstained from voting.

(Originally published on September 27, 2014)