“The Role of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Age of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament” Mr. Yasuyoshi Komizo, Chairperson, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation
post date : 2014.04.07
Having experienced the devastation of atomic bombings, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have an important role to play in building a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. The people of both cities can represent a great majority of Japanese people who want peace. We highly value and respect the persistence of hibakusha appealing for peace. And we feel responsible to bring forward these precious appeals and prayers to affect politics. Their humanitarian message that “No one should ever again suffer as we have” and their earnest wish for peace should be shared with the global community, especially youth.
The existence of 17000 nuclear weapons still poses a serious global threat. The threat of mass civilian killings (so-called “nuclear deterrence”) is not a sustainable way to maintain peace. We have to aim at the eventual abolishment of nuclear weapons. To do so, we need to challenge the basic thinking upon which nuclear weapons are deployed. Although security may require military force as a necessary component, something as brutal and massively destructive as nuclear weapons is unnecessary. Cultivating mutual understanding and a sense of belonging to the same human family in the global community can create conditions for world leaders to take bolder steps for a better security arrangement.
Hibakusha are aging, with an average age of 78. Time is limited for us to be able to listen to their testimonies directly. I believe it is important, while they are active, to pass their message on to future generations and to make sure that the core of their message will be carried forward innovatively by future generations. It is up to future generations to choose and to create their own future, but we can give them advice based on our past experiences. If they understand the core humanitarian message, it can inspire their own ways to build peace. Witnessing regional conflicts, some younger people are becoming more inclined towards greater military preparedness. We need to guide them, so they have better judgment and choose better ways to build a peaceful society.
Mayors for Peace is at the core of our outreach activities. This association of like-minded mayors working for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons was established in 1982 by an initiative of the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In addition to working together with younger generations, we also work closely with the UN and with a wide range of groups in civil society, such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent community, peace NGOs, parliamentarians, and prominent figures in culture, arts, sports, etc. As of March 2014, around 6000 cities are members. The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are at the forefront of spreading a message of peace to civil society all around the world.
Hopefully, the messages from the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can give courage and inspiration to the citizens of the world, especially to the youth, in their work towards peace.