Dispatches from Nagasaki No.10

Peace and Green Boat calls on Nagasaki Port; Japanese and Korean passengers engage in discussions with students at Nagasaki University

 (Nov.30, 2014)Peace and Green Boat, a vessel on which Japanese and Korean passengers contemplate peace and environmental issues as they travel around East Asia, arrived at Nagasaki Port on the seventh of November. During their stay in town, passengers visited Nagasaki University in order to exchange opinions with students on issues such as peace education and took part in on-board peace-related events such as testimonial talks by survivors of the atomic bombing.

 While at the University, the Japanese and Korean passengers met with a group of fifty students which included visiting students from South Korea. The topics for discussion were “The peace education I received” and “What should be passed on to the next generation for the sake of peace?” (Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 9, 2014).

 This is the second time that Peace and Green Boat, a program conducted by Japanese and Korean NGOs, has called on Nagasaki Port. The first time was during the maiden voyage of the vessel back in 2005. For the current journey the ship departed from Hakata Port with 500 people from each of the countries of Japan and Korea and traveled to South Korea, Taiwan and Okinawa in the period from October 30 to November 8.

 At the on-board peace event on November 7, an opening message by Nagasaki Mayor Tomohisa Taue was followed by a talk by atomic bombing survivor Miyako Johdai about her experiences and a presentation by high school peace ambassadors on the state of their activities. In closing, Peace Boat Co-founder Tatsuya Yoshioka and South Korean Green Foundation President Choi Yul held a press conference to announce the adoption of A Declaration of Mutual Respect Between Citizens of Japan and South Korea and deliver the message that “It is necessary to start building a trustworthy relationship between our countries based on mutual respect” (Nagasaki Shimbun, Nov. 8).

 The two representatives said that for next year’s cruise the ship will depart from Hakata Port on August 1 and travel to South Korea, Russia and Hokkaido (Otaru Port) before calling at Nagasaki on August 9. Plans call for passengers to learn about the atomic bombing in Nagasaki by participating in the Peace Memorial Ceremony and touring bomb-related relics.

 The current voyage also provided an opportunity for Akira Kawasaki (45), Executive Committee member of Peace Boat and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), to discuss the contents of his book Kaku Heiki wo Kinshi Suru (Banning Nuclear Weapons) (Iwanami Shoten) with students at Nagasaki University and Kwassui Women’s College on November 5 and 6. According to reports, some students made skeptical comments like, “What is the point of debating this when countries are still maintaining nuclear weapons?” but Kawasaki advised that (existing) treaties banning inhuman weapons such as land mines should be referred to and that even students could develop frameworks for prohibiting nuclear weapons. He elaborated that “Our chances will increase if we do things like submit proposals to the Japanese government and send English translations of these overseas” (Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 9).

 “Dispatches from Nagasaki” is a nuclear disarmament-related news article from RECNA.

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