At Global Summit in Mexico, 140 Nations Call for Action to Outlaw Nukes Before 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombings

February 17th, 2014 - by admin

Japan Times & Kyodo News International & The Asahi Shimbun – 2014-02-17 00:43:27

Confab Calls for Action to Outlaw Nukes
Before 70th Anniversary of Bombings

Japan Times

NUEVO VALLARTA, MEXICO (February 16, 2014) — A major conference drawing representatives from more than 140 countries ended Friday with an appeal for action to outlaw nuclear weapons ahead of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki next year.

The chair’s summary of the two-day Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico, repeated the growing risk of nuclear weapons use globally because of their proliferation and vulnerability to cyberattacks, human error and potential access to nuclear arsenals by terrorist groups.

In addition to the short- and long-term impact on human health from radiation exposure, a nuclear weapon detonation would have effects not constrained by national borders, most severely affecting the poor and vulnerable, the document said.

The summary said weapons will only be eliminated after they are outlawed. “We believe this is the path to achieve a world without nuclear weapons,” it added.

“In our view, this is consistent with our obligations under international law” such as those derived from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Geneva Conventions.

The conference called on nuclear weapons states and countries that have not joined the NPT to take part in the third conference to be held in Austria.

The United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, which are allowed to possess nukes under the NPT, did not take part in the first conference in Oslo in March last year as well as the latest meeting.

“It is time to take action,” the summary said. “The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks is the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal. Nayarit is a point of no return.”

Akira Kawasaki, a representative of civic group Peace Boat, commended the chair’s summary, saying, “It’s tantamount to the start of (discussions on instituting) a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons.”

At the Mexico meeting, atomic bomb victims including Setsuko Thurlow, 82, who now lives in Canada, spoke of their experiences. Chiho Kozakura, a high school student “peace ambassador” sent by a Nagasaki civic group, was also at the forum.

The latest conference drew 146 countries, or three quarters of the United Nations members, more than the 127 nations that participated in the Oslo meeting last year. Representatives of civil society organizations also took part.

Atom Bomb Victims Call for End to
Nuclear Arms at Mexico Conference

Kyodo News International

(February 14, 2014)Victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on the international community to increase its efforts toward abolishing nuclear weapons at a conference that started Thursday.

Toshiki Fujimori, assistant secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, said many atomic bombing victims, known as hibakusha in Japanese, have suffered from leukemia and other illness for many years.

“If weapons that continuously torment hibakusha are not inhumane, then what is?” Fujimori, 69, said before a crowd of around 800 people including government representatives at the second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

Yasuaki Yamashita, who was exposed to radiation at age 6 in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, said he migrated to Mexico as an adult, hoping painful memories would go away, but the pain has stayed psychologically and physically. Yamashita, 74, then made a call in Spanish for the abolition and prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Masaki Koyanagi, 16, a third-generation hibakusha sent as a high school peace ambassador by a Nagasaki civic group, said she has a duty to pass on the horrors of radiation she has been taught since she was a child.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry said it will sponsor the third conference in Vienna by the end of this year.

Granddaughter of Hibakusha Relates
Horrors of A-bombs at International Conference

Kyosuke Yamamoto / The Asahi Shimbun

NUEVO VALLARTA, Mexico (February 15, 2014) –Masaki Koyanagi visited the graves of her grandparents, both atomic bomb survivors, and promised to tell the world their story about the horrors of nuclear weapons.

Koyanagi, a first-year student at Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, made good on that vow at the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons here.

During her Feb. 13 presentation on the first day of the two-day conference, she showed photos of her deceased grandparents on a screen beside her while giving testimony on behalf of the hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors.

Koyanagi, one of five participants from Japan, spoke in front of 700 people, including representatives from more than 140 nations, at the conference, which is seeking global nuclear disarmament.

The first conference was held last year in Oslo, Norway, and was organized by nations that do not possess nuclear weapons.

“I believe it is my mission as a third-generation descendant of hibakusha to take on the weight of the words of the hibakusha and their hopes for peace and tell the world about the inhumaneness of atomic bombs,” she said.

The 16-year-old said she found out in her second year of junior high school that her grandparents survived the Aug. 9, 1945, atomic bombing of Nagasaki. After a peace education class at that time, one of the visiting high school students from Osaka said, “I don’t know anything about the atomic bombing.”

Koyanagi said she told her father about the student’s comments. That’s when she said her father first told her, “Your grandfather and grandmother were atomic bomb victims.”

“I was shocked to learn when I was in junior high school that I was a third-generation descendant of hibakusha,” she said.

However, she could not completely comprehend the matter because her grandmother died before Koyanagi was born, and her grandfather passed away when she was only 1.

In high school, Koyanagi joined the Peace Education Club. A Nagasaki citizens group then chose her to attend the international conference in Mexico as a “high school peace ambassador.”

But when it came time to actually begin writing a draft of her speech, Koyanagi found she only had a few lines about her grandparents, even though they were the main subjects.

She realized she knew very little about the cruel experiences her grandparents went through and the agony they felt since the bombing.

The student turned to her aunt for help on learning more about her grandparents’ story. Koyanagi learned that her grandmother was 22 when the atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki. Her health was never very good after that, and she died at 53 of stomach cancer.

Koyanagi also found out that her grandmother always regretted being unable to provide water to those severely injured immediately after the bomb was dropped.

That was the first time Koyanagi understood the real dangers of nuclear weapons. Although she felt it would have been better to have heard the story directly from her grandmother, Koyanagi said she developed a stronger feeling of wanting to pass on what her grandparents went through.

She said she rewrote her speech more than five times and practiced it very hard after it was translated into English.

The high school student said that for some reason she felt even closer to her grandparents when she visited their graves before departing for Mexico.

“Grandpa, grandma, I will tell the world what happened,” she told them.

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