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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 73, October - November 2003

Hiroshima & Nagasaki Annual Peace Declarations

I. Hiroshima Declaration, August 6

'Peace Declaration', issued by Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of the City of Hiroshima, August 6; Hiroshima Peace Site, www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/peacesite/English/Stage3/3-2/3-2-10E.html.

This year again, summer's heat reminds us of the blazing hell fire that swept over this very spot fifty-eight years ago. The world without nuclear weapons and beyond war that our hibakusha have sought for so long appears to be slipping deeper into a thick cover of dark clouds that they fear at any minute could become mushroom clouds spilling black rain. The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse. The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear first strike and calling for resumed research into mini-nukes and other so-called "useable nuclear weapons", appears to worship nuclear weapons as God.

However, nuclear weapons are not the only problem. Acting as if the United Nations Charter and the Japanese Constitution don't even exist, the world has suddenly veered sharply away from post-war toward pre-war mentality.

As the US-UK led war on Iraq made clear, the assertion that war is peace is being trumpeted as truth. Conducted with disregard for the multitudes around the world demanding a peaceful solution through continued UN inspections, this war slaughtered innocent women, children, and the elderly. It destroyed the environment, most notably through radioactive contamination that will be with us for billions of years. And the weapons of mass destruction that served as the excuse for the war have yet to be found.

However, as President Lincoln once said, "You can't fool all the people all the time." Now is the time for us to focus once again on the truth that "Darkness can never be dispelled by darkness, only by light." The rule of power is darkness. The rule of law is light. In the darkness of retaliation, the proper path for human civilization is illumined by the spirit of reconciliation born of the hibakusha's determination that "no one else should ever suffer as we did."

Lifting up that light, the aging hibakusha are calling for US President George Bush to visit Hiroshima. We all support that call and hereby demand that President Bush, Chairman Kim Jong Il of North Korea, and the leaders of all nuclear-weapon states come to Hiroshima and confront the reality of nuclear war. We must somehow convey to them that nuclear weapons are utterly evil, inhumane and illegal under international law. In the meanwhile, we expect that the facts about Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be shared throughout the world, and that the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course will be established in ever more colleges and universities.

To strengthen the NPT regime, the city of Hiroshima is calling on all members of the World Conference of Mayors for Peace to take emergency action to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons. Our goal is to gather a strong delegation of mayors representing cities throughout the world to participate in the NPT Review Conference that will take place in New York in 2005, the 60th year after the atomic bombing. In New York, we will lobby national delegates for the start of negotiations at the United Nations on a universal Nuclear Weapons Convention providing for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, Hiroshima calls on politicians, religious professionals, academics, writers, journalists, teachers, artists, athletes and other leaders with influence. We must establish a climate that immediately confronts even casual comments that appear to approve of nuclear weapons or war. To prevent war and to abolish the absolute evil of nuclear weapons, we must pray, speak, and act to that effect in our daily lives.

The Japanese government, which publicly asserts its status as "the only A-bombed nation," must fulfill the responsibilities that accompany that status, both at home and abroad. Specifically, it must adopt as national precepts the three new non-nuclear principles - allow no production, allow no possession, and allow no use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world - and work conscientiously toward an Asian nuclear-free zone. It must also provide full support to all hibakusha everywhere, including those exposed in "black rain areas" and those who live overseas.

On this 58th August 6, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the souls of all atomic bomb victims, and we renew our pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and eliminate war altogether by the time we turn this world over to our children.

II. Nagasaki Declaration, August 9

'Peace Declaration', issued by Iccho Itoh, Mayor of Nagasaki, Mayor of the City of Nagasaki, August 9; Hiroshima Peace Site, http://www1.city.nagasaki.nagasaki.jp/abm/abm_e/index.html.

Today, the modern buildings and houses of Nagasaki's verdant cityscape make it difficult to imagine what happened here at the end of the Second World War on August 9 at 11:02 AM, fifty-eight years ago. An American aircraft dropped a single atomic bomb that was detonated at an altitude of about 500 meters over the district known as Matsuyama-machi. In an instant, the resulting heat rays, blast wind, and radiation descended upon Nagasaki and transformed the city into a hell on Earth. Some 74,000 people were killed, and 75,000 injured. Many of those who were spared from death were afflicted with incurable physical and mental wounds, and many continue today to suffer from the after-effects of the atomic bombing, and from health problems induced by the stress of their experience.

We have ceaselessly called for the eradication of nuclear weapons and the establishment of world peace, so that such a tragedy is never repeated. Nevertheless, in March of this year, the US and the UK launched a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, whom they accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction. In the ensuing war, waged in the absence of a United Nations resolution, the lives of many civilians were sacrificed in addition to those of soldiers. We deeply regret that this conflict could not be averted, despite our appeals for a peaceful resolution based on international cooperation, and a rising worldwide anti-war movement.

In January of last year, the United States government conducted a nuclear posture review, recommending the development of mini-nuclear weapons and the resumption of nuclear explosions for test purposes, and openly proposing the use of nuclear weapons under certain circumstances. At the same time, following nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, the disclosure by North Korea that it too possesses nuclear weapons has served to heighten the tension of international society. International agreements supporting nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and the prohibition of all nuclear weapons testing now appear to be on the verge of collapse.

Mother Theresa, when she visited Nagasaki, commented as she viewed a picture of a boy whose body had been burnt black in the atomic bombing, "The leaders of all the nuclear states should come to Nagasaki to see this photograph." We do indeed invite the leaders of the US and the other nuclear weapons states to visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, so that they may witness with their own eyes the tragic outcome of these instruments of destruction.

We also urge the government of Japan, the only country to have sustained a nuclear attack, to stand at the forefront of efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. In response to concerns voiced both domestically and internationally over the possibility of Japan's remilitarization and nuclear armament, the government must uphold the principle of an exclusively defensive posture, and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles (stating that Japan will not possess, manufacture or allow nuclear weapons into the country) must be passed into law, thus demonstrating the sincerity of Japan's intentions. The Korean Peninsula Non-Nuclear Joint Statement must be realized in cooperation with other nations, and, based on the spirit of the Pyongyang Declaration, work must begin on the establishment of a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone.

It is our hope that younger generations may continue to work for the advancement of science and technology in pursuit of human happiness. May they also consider what has been wrought upon humanity when these have been misused, and learn from the events of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. May they turn their eyes to the wider world around them, consider what must be done to bring about peace, and join hands in concerted action.

Here in Nagasaki, the hibakusha atomic bomb survivors, growing increasingly older, are continuing to earnestly retell their experiences of the atomic bombing, and large numbers of young people are actively engaged in peace promotion and volunteer activities. Nagasaki City will persevere in providing opportunities for learning and reflection, that the experiences of the atomic bombing may not become lost and forgotten. In November of this year, we will host for the second time the Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, an international gathering of peace-supporting NGOs and individuals, held in advance of the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, calling to the peoples of the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Today, on the 58th anniversary of the atomic bombing, as we pray for the repose of those who died and recall to mind their suffering, we the citizens of Nagasaki pledge our commitment to the realization of true peace in the world, free from nuclear weapons.

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© 2003 The Acronym Institute.