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Dispatches from Nagasaki No.14

The 70th Nagasaki Peace Ceremony and various other Peace Events

On August 9 of every year, a number of events are held to commemorate the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and to provide a forum for the promotion of world peace. This year’s Nagasaki Peace Ceremony commemorated the landmark 70th anniversary of the bombing. Presented below is an outline of this ceremony together with other peace events conducted within Nagasaki Prefecture that day.

Approximately 6,800 people were in attendance at the Peace Ceremony, including the ambassadors or other formal representatives of 75 countries. Never before has there been such a marked diplomatic presence (August 9 online edition of the Asahi Shimbun; http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH866QNLH86TIPE03B.html).

According to the August 10 edition of the Nagasaki Shimbun: “This Ceremony marked the first time that representatives of the five recognized holders of nuclear weapons (the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China), together with those of three of the four de facto nuclear powers (India, Pakistan and Israel but not North Korea), were brought together in solemn commemoration. These guests, along with approximately 30,000 private citizens, joined together for a moment of silence at precisely 11:02, the time the bomb hit the city.”

Representing the United States, the country that dropped the bomb, were Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who attended the event in an official capacity for the second year running, and Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. Ambassador Kennedy stated that the U.S. will maintain its close relationship with Japan to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, which President Obama called for in his address in Prague (August 15 edition of the Nagasaki Shimbun). Kim Won-soo, UN Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs was the first representative of the United Nations to speak at the Ceremony in three years. Delivering a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Kim said “I echo your rallying cry: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis. I am proactively working to realize our common goal. Seven decades is far too long for the world to have lived in the nuclear shadow.” (August 11, 2015 edition of the Nagasaki Shimbun.)

The Nagasaki Peace Declaration, updated by the Drafting Committee each year to reflect recent events, sends a powerful message every year. In his declaration for 2015, Tomihisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki, said: “I address President Obama, heads of state, including the heads of the nuclear weapon states, and all the people of the world. Please come to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and see for yourself exactly what happened under those mushroom clouds 70 years ago. Please understand and accept the message of the hibakusha, who are still doing their best to pass on their experiences, not simply as ‘victims,’ but as ‘members of the human race.’ I appeal to the Government of Japan. Please explore national security measures which do not rely on nuclear deterrence. The establishment of a ‘Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NEA-NWFZ),’ as advocated by researchers in America, Japan, Korea, China, and many other countries, would make this possible. Fix your sights on the future, and please consider a conversion from a ‘nuclear umbrella’ to a ‘non-nuclear umbrella.’” The Declaration is available on the City of Nagasaki website in ten different languages (http://www.city.nagasaki.lg.jp/heiwa/3020000/3020300/p027408.html).

During the Peace Ceremony, a “pledge for peace” address is also delivered by an atomic bombing survivor every year. This time, Sumiteru Taniguchi, who was given the unusual distinction of representing the bombing victims for his second year, spoke as follows: “After the war, a Constitution was enacted in which Japan promised to the world that it would never wage war or take up weapons again. However, the government is about to bring Japan back to the wartime period by enforcing the approval for exercising the right to collective self-defense and by pushing ahead with amending the Constitution. The national security legislation being pushed through by the government will lead Japan to war. It will rip up from their roots the movement and philosophy built up by many people seeking peace, including hibakusha, to abolish nuclear weapons. It is absolutely unforgiveable. Nuclear weapons are cruel and inhumane weapons that the people of the world overwhelming believe should be abolished forever.” (August 9, 2015 online edition of the Asahi Shimbun: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH867TTCH86TOLB01B.html).

When speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony several days earlier (August 6), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not mention the “three non-nuclear principles”. At a Meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives on August 7, Prime Minister Abe, responding to criticism over his lack of any mention of the non-nuclear principles at Hiroshima, said, essentially, that he did not mention them there because he intended to do so in his speech in Nagasaki. He did indeed mention those principles at the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony, saying “I have renewed my determination for Japan, as the only country to have ever experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, to take the lead in the international community’s nuclear disarmament efforts, firmly upholding the ‘three non-nuclear principles’ as we work towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons.” Mr. Abe continued: “As an expression of that determination, the Government of Japan will submit a new draft resolution on the total elimination of nuclear weapons to the United Nations General Assembly this autumn.” (August 10, 2015 online edition of the Mainichi Shimbun: http://mainichi.jp/shimen/news/20150810ddm001040178000c.html).

 

A variety of other peace events were held in Nagasaki Prefecture on the day of the ceremony. Although it was usually a day off for school children, for Nagasaki children it was a school day, one marked by peace events at which students folded paper cranes, recited the Pledge for Peace with their classmates, and, in chorus with the entire student body, sung songs. While that day was special, the days leading up to it were also packed with a variety of activities and learning experiences. At Kitaarima Junior High School in Shimabara, roughly 50 kilometers east of Nagasaki City, students conducted a play based on a novel about kamikaze pilots and, through it, learned about the injustices of war and the hardships of the people caught up in it. (August 10, 2015 edition of the Nagasaki Shimbun)

Many other events with a strong “pro-peace” message were held on the day throughout the Prefecture, often in conjunction with musical concerts. At an event held on August 7 at the Nishi Hongwanji Nagasaki branch Temple in Isahaya City, participants watched Peace on the Tigris – the Iraq War and 10 Years of Life in Baghdad, a documentary about the war. On the next day, members of the first generation of atomic bombing survivors, together with their children and grandchildren, described their experiences to a rapt audience. This was followed by a Buddhist sermon and, in the evening, a Peace Concert.

In this manner, a variety of peace events were held within Nagasaki Prefecture, culminating with the 70th Nagasaki Peace Ceremony on August 9. Participants learned about war and peace, took part in activities aimed at achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, and sent out a message of peace to the rest of the world.

 

2015年8月9日長崎原爆犠牲者慰霊平和祈念式典と様々な平和集会

 

毎年長崎では、原爆が投下された8月9日に平和祈念式典が行われ、この式典以外にも様々な平和集会が県内各地で行われる。長崎に原爆を投下されて、今年で70年が経つ。この節目の年のこの日の式典と長崎県内の平和集会の様子を紹介する。

被爆70年目の平和祈念式典には、約6800人が参列し、過去最多の75カ国からも大使らが出席したという。(2015年8月9日朝日新聞デジタル:http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH866QNLH86TIPE03B.html)「核保有国5カ国(米ロ英仏中)と、北朝鮮を除く事実上の核保有国インド、パキスタン、イスラエルの計8か国が初めてそろった。」「市民ら約3万人が来場し、原爆投下時刻の11時2分に黙とうをささげた。」(2015年8月10日長崎新聞)原爆を投下したアメリカからは、昨年に引き続きケネディ駐日大使や、核軍縮部門の事実上のトップ、ガテマラー国務次官が出席した。ケネディ氏は「オバマ大統領が掲げる『核兵器のない世界』という目標の実現に向け、日本と引き続き連携していくことを望む」とコメントした。(2015年8月15日長崎新聞)国連代表からは3年ぶりにスピーチが行われた。金垣洙(キムウォンス)軍縮担当上級代表代行が、潘基文(パンキムン)事務総長のメッセージを代読した。「「ノーモア・ナガサキ、ノーモア・ヒロシマ』の声を全世界に響かせたい。世界は70年というあまりにも長い間、核の影におびえてきた。共通の目標を実現するために積極的な活動を続ける。」と誓った。(2015年8月11日長崎新聞)

毎年、起草委員会を立ち上げ作成される長崎市長の平和宣言では、重要なメッセージが発信される。田上富久市長は、「オバマ大統領、そして核保有国をはじめ各国首脳の皆さん、世界中の皆さん、70年前、原子雲の下で何があったのか、長崎や広島を訪れて確かめてください。被爆者が、単なる被害者としてではなく、人類の一員として、今も懸命に伝えようとしていることを感じとってください。日本政府に訴えます。国の安全保障は、核抑止力に頼らない方法を検討してください。アメリカ、日本、韓国、中国など多くの国の研究者が提案しているように、北東アジア非核兵器地帯の設立によって、それは可能です。未来を見据え、「核の傘」から「非核の傘」への転換について、ぜひ検討してください。」と訴えた。市長による平和宣言文は長崎市のホームページで10カ国語に翻訳され公開されている。(http://www.city.nagasaki.lg.jp/heiwa/3020000/3020300/p027408.html)さらに、式典では被爆者代表による「平和への誓い」も行われる。今年は谷口稜曄(すみてる)さんが、異例の二回目の代表となった。谷口さんは、「戦後日本は再び戦争はしない、武器は持たないと、世界に公約した「憲法」が制定されました。しかし、今集団的自衛権の行使容認を押しつけ、憲法改正を押し進め、戦時中の時代に逆戻りしようとしています。今政府が進めようとしている戦争につながる安保法案は、被爆者を始め平和を願う多くの人々が積み上げてきた核兵器廃絶の運動、思いを根底から覆そうとするもので、許すことはできません。核兵器は残虐で人道に反する兵器です。廃絶すべきだということが、世界の圧倒的な声になっています。」と述べた。(2015年8月9日朝日新聞デジタル:http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH867TTCH86TOLB01B.html

また、広島の8月6日に行われた式典でのあいさつで首相は「非核三原則の堅持」に関して語らなかった。今回の長崎での式典では、「世界で唯一の戦争被爆国として、非核三原則を堅持しつつ、『核兵器のない世界』の実現に向けて、国際社会の核軍縮の取り組みを主導していく決意を新たにした」と表明した。今年秋の国連総会に新たな核兵器廃絶決議案を提出する考えを示した。広島でのあいさつに対する批判を踏まえ、首相は7日の衆院予算委員会で「長崎の式典ではこの文言(非核三原則)は入っていると承知している」と答弁していた。(2015年8月10日毎日新聞(ウェブ)http://mainichi.jp/shimen/news/20150810ddm001040178000c.html

 平和祈念式典の他の県内各地の様々な平和集会をまとめる。長崎県内の小中学校では、この日が登校日であり、各学校で平和集会が行われる。折鶴を折ったり、各学級で平和の誓いを読み上げたり、全校児童・生徒で合唱をしたりする。この日だけでなく、この日に向けて、事前に様々な学習や活動をするのだ。南島原市の北有馬中学校では、特攻隊がテーマの小説を基に劇をし、戦争の不条理や隊員らの苦悩を訴えた。(2015年8月10日長崎新聞)その他にも、この日は様々な場所で、音楽のイベントを通して平和を訴えるなど長崎県各地で集会が行われている。諫早市にある西本願寺長崎教堂では7日にイラク戦争の被害をテーマにしたドキュメンタリー映画「イラクチグリスに浮かぶ平和」の上映会が行われ、8日には被爆者・被爆二世・被爆三世が講演をし、最後に僧侶が法話を行った。同日の夜には平和のコンサートも行われた。

 以上のように、被爆地長崎ではこの原爆が投下された8月9日に平和祈念式典をはじめとし、様々な平和集会が行われ、戦争や平和について学び、核兵器のない平和な世界へ向けた活動に取り組み、メッセージを発信しているのだ。

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