Dispatches from Nagasaki No.9

Nagasaki confirmed as site for the 2015 Pugwash International Conference

(July 31, 2014)In 2015, the year commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, Nagasaki City will hold the 61st Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, an international convention for scientists aiming to abolish war and nuclear weapons. The conference will run for the five-day period from November 1-5. The announcement was made in Tokyo on July 8 by a delegation from the organizing body, the Pugwash 2015 Executive Committee. In keeping with the anti-nuclear and pro-peace pleas of the atomic-bombed city, discussions will be held on the denuclearization of North East Asia and the social responsibility of scientists in the wake of the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The results of the conference will then be compiled for the planned release of a “Nagasaki Declaration”. The announcement was made by a six-member delegation that included Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, former president of the Science Council of Japan and chairman of the Advisory Council of Pugwash Japan, and Prof. Toshihide Masukawa, Council member and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The principal site for the conference will be Iojima Island in Nagasaki City. Some two hundred people representing approximately forty countries are expected to be in attendance. As a general rule, panel sessions and working group debates on individual themes will not be open to the public. Plans also call for the staging of lectures, public symposiums and dialogues with citizens and atomic bombing survivors, the details of which are subject to further deliberations. Fund-raising activities aimed at corporations, associations and individuals will be initiated in order to help finance the conference.

A corresponding event for students and junior researchers named “The Student and Young Pugwash Conference” will also be staged next year over the two-day period from October 30-31.

As reported in Nagasaki Shimbun, Pugwash Japan Advisory Council member and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics Toshihide Masukawa of Nagoya University spoke at the press conference of his concern that, “technical upgrades are being made to all military equipment, not only nuclear weapons, and even more countries are becoming involved. The situation is more serious than before.” Council chairman Hiroyuki Yoshikawa of the Japan Science and Technology Agency added that “scientific development poses various threats to society and the responsibility of scientists is being called to account. The accident at Fukushima is a perfect example.”

In the prospectus issued by Pugwash 2015, the main theme of the conference is as “Seventy years after the atomic bombings: Realizing a world free of nuclear weapons” and PCU-Nagasaki Council and Nagasaki University are listed as supporting organizations.

(Quotes from Nagasaki Shimbun were taken from the July 9, 2014 edition)

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