Dispatches from Nagasaki No.21

Peace Declaration and Mayors for Peace Nagasaki Appeal

On August 9, 2017, the day that marked the 72nd year since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the Mayor of Nagasaki City once again read out the Peace Declaration at the Peace memorial Ceremony (https://nagasakipeace.jp/content/files/appeal/2017/english.pdf). This year the majority of the declaration concerned the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by the United Nations in July. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue started by praising the years of tireless effort made by the hibakusha, describing the Treaty as “a moment when all the efforts of the hibakusha over the years finally took shape.” He also expressed his gratitude for civil society and the non-nuclear nations, saying: “I would also like to express our profoundest gratitude to all of the nations that promote this treaty, the United Nations, NGOs and others who have acted with such vigorous determination and courage.” On the other hand, the Mayor appealed to the nations that have declared that they will not participate in the Treaty and those nations under the nuclear umbrella to review their nuclear policies, particularly the Japanese government, for whom he had some harsh words of criticism: “its stance of not even participating in the diplomatic negotiations for the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty is quite incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered the atomic bombing.”

The message delivered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe contained no reference to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at all, indeed he could be seen as actually criticizing the treaty when he said: “in order to truly realize “a world free of nuclear weapons,” it is essential for both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states to participate. Japan, firmly upholding the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles,” is determined to take the lead within the international community by urging both kinds of states to participate .”
When Koichi Kawano, chairman of the Hibakusha Liaison Council of the Nagasaki Prefectural Peace Movement Center, who has listened with a sense of disappointment to the Prime Minister’s speech, came face -to-face with Mr. Abe at an event after the ceremony he asked him point-blank: “What country’s prime minister are you? Are you going to abandon us?” (Tokyo Shimbun, August 10, 2017)

The 9th General Conference of Mayors for Peace was also held from August 7 (Monday) to August 10 (Thursday), 2017. A total of 284 people from 158 cities, 19 people from the governments of 13 nations, and 15 people from 9 NGOs and other organizations participated in the general conference. (http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/report/meeting/9th_meeting.html, (accessed December 21, 2018)) On August 10 the Nagasaki Appeal (http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/statement/appeal/pdf/9th_nagasaki_appeal_en.pdf) and the Special Resolution Requesting the Early Bringing into Effect of the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons (http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/report/meeting/data/9th_meeting/Nagasaki_special_resolution_E.pdf) were both announced.

In addition to the earliest participation in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, The Nagasaki Appeal also urged in the strongest terms that all governments should “make efforts to address global issues that deprive human beings of dignity and “make efforts to create a culture of peace and offer opportunities to more people to learn, be aware of, and realize the harsh reality of atomic bombings and wars.”

Reaction to the 6th nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

On September 3 North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test. In reaction to this the
Mayor of Nagasaki City and the Nagasaki City Assembly sent a co-signed letter of protest
to Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Worker’s Party of Korea (http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/86.html).
The letter of protest described how “there is great anger brewing in Nagasaki,” and stated that: “On behalf of the city of Nagasaki, we protest against the DPRK’s nuclear test in the strongest possible terms.” Five other hibakusha organizations also sent letters of protest to Kim Jong-un on September 4th. The letters of protest expressed their strong sense of distaste with the words “We protest with a heartfelt anger.” (Sankei Shimbun, September 4, 2017 (Japanese only): http://www.sankei.com/west/news/170904/wst1709040059-n1.html) Moreover, on September 5 hibakusha and citizens of Nagasaki City staged a sit-in protest in front of
the Peace Memorial Statue in Nagasaki peace Park (Matsuyama-machi). Around 60 people took part, unveiling banners with messages such as “We protest against North Korea’s nuclear tests” and “Make reality of nuclear weapons abolition and total arms reductions.” (Jiji Press, September 5, 2017 (Japanese only): http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/13570463/)

Nagasaki University announces launch of English language academic journal

On September 4 Nagasaki University announced the launch of an English language academic journal focusing on the topic of nuclear arms reductions. Nagasaki University President Shigeru Katamine emphasized the significance of the publication, saying: “I want it to be known just how terrible the effects of nuclear weapons use are through the presentation of scientific proof.” The publication has been named Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, and the first edition is schedule to be released in February 2018. Fumihiko Yoshida, Vice Director of RECNA, who will serve as the Journal’s chief editor, told at press conference: “The Journal will communicate viewpoints and ways of thinking that are different from those of the nuclear states and the United States and Europe.” (Jiji Press, September 5)

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