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Sep 26, 2014 - Peace Boat Marks the International Day of the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Peace Boat's Nuclear Abolition Day event was attended by students, NGO representatives, journalists and UN officials
On September 26 , Nuclear Abolition Day , Peace Boat held an event in Tokyo at Aoyama Gakuin University, during which Peace Boat Executive Committee Member and ICAN Steering Committee Member, Kawasaki Akira introduced his newly published book "Banning Nuclear Weapons." This was the first ever International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, first established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 to enhance "public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination."

Kawasaki opened the session by asking the audience, made of UN officials, NGO representatives, journalists and university students: "How many of you think that it is actually impossible, in spite of all the efforts made by many international actors, to ban nuclear weapons?" Several people raised their hands.

Peace Boat's Kawasaki Akira outlines how the international community is working towards a ban on nuclear weapons
To answer their skepticism, Kawasaki described some of the recent international efforts currently underway towards adopting a ban on nuclear weapons and highlighted a number of initiatives that have contributed to building the current momentum. These included joint statements at the United Nations General Assembly, as well two international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons that took place in Norway and Mexico. Kawasaki specifically referred to the closing summary of the Mexico Conference, in which the chair, Deputy Foreign Minister of Mexico, Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, called for the development and adoption a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, suggesting the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as "the appropriate milestone to achieve [this] goal."

Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) have long campaigned for a world without nuclear weapons. Many of them have devoted their lives to trying to ensure that no one would ever have to experience the suffering that they have endured. "Real action, more than words and tributes, is the best way of honoring the victims and those who have suffered and continue to suffer the horrible legacy of nuclear weapons. This means making a treaty banning nuclear weapons a reality," said Kawasaki.

Peace Boat launches "I was her age" together with Mayors for Peace for the 87th Global Voyage
Peace Boat closed the event with the official announcement of a joint project, together with Mayors for Peace, called "I was her age". Through this project, Hibakusha who were children at the time of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will pass their stories to children and parents of young children during Peace Boat's 87th Global Voyage.

During the event, the two organizations made public the list of Mayors for Peace's city members that will welcome Hibakusha and host an event as part of Peace Boat's 87th Voyage. They are (in the order to be visited): Kochi, India; Gonfréville l'Orcher, France: Ypres, Belgium; Gdansk, Poland; and St, Petersburg, Russia. Other cities are to be announced at a later date.

Following the event in Tokyo, Kawasaki participated via videoconference in a press briefing organized by Mayors for Peace at the ACANU (Association des Correspondents Auprès des Nations Unies) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read more about the "I was her age" project and visit the Facebook page
Read more about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

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