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Oct 12, 2017 - ICAN's Kawasaki Urges Japanese Government to Take a Stand Against Nuclear Weapons
ICAN/Peace Boat's Kawasaki Akira and Hibakusha Kido Sueichi speak at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.
On 11 October 2017, five days after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Kawasaki Akira, Peace Boat Executive Committee Member and ICAN International Steering Group Member, addressed a room full of journalists at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

Kawasaki crticizes the Japanese government for its silence on the issue of nuclear weapons.
In his speech, Kawasaki highlighted that the prize represented an attempt by the Nobel committee to promote the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (adopted by the United Nations on 7 July this year), in the hope of making the prohibition and eradication of nuclear weapons an international norm. Moreover, he emphasized that ICAN recognizes that the prize honours all people who have been striving for a world free from nuclear weapons, including Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors), nuclear test survivors, and other victims involved in each stage of the nuclear weapons production process.

ICAN/Peace Boat's Kawasaki Akira and Hibakusha Tanaka Terumi and Kido Sueichi address the press at the FCCJ.
Kawasaki denounced the Japanese government for its conspicuous omission of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in its statement acknowledging the result of the Noble Peace Prize, commenting "This extraordinary silence on this treaty by the Japanese government is very, very disappointing and frustrating." He added that Japan is expected to avoid any mention of the treaty in its forthcoming statement which it will submit to the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly which focuses on disarmament and international security.

Tanaka Terumi, a Hibakusha who experienced the Nagasaki atomic bombing, expressed his disappointment with Japan's refusal to sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.
Two Hibakusha also spoke at the press conference, Tanaka Terumi and Kido Sueichi who were 13 and five years of age respectively when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Tanaka expressed his disappointment and anger at the Japanese government for not supporting the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, despite being the only country in the world to have come under nuclear attack. With regard to the recent escalation of tensions surrounding North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, Kido underlined the ineffectiveness of sanctions and inflamed rhetoric in bringing about a peaceful resolution on the Korean peninsula. He criticized the prevailing mindset that national security is enhanced by the possession of nuclear weapons, noting that the current state of the world demonstrates a lack of any such correlation.

Hibakusha Kido Sueichi criticized the mindset that national security is enhanced by the possession of nuclear weapons.
During a subsequent question and answer session, Kawasaki observed that the international media appears preoccupied with condemning the actions of North Korea, while neglecting to highlight the inherently immoral nature of nuclear weapons. There are approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, and independent experts believe North Korea possesses only a tiny fraction of these, while Russia and the US hold approximately 7000 each. "There is no right hand on wrong weapons," stated Kawasaki, emphatically. Kawasaki will be visiting each political party to insist that they address the issue of nuclear weapons in the run up to the Japanese general election which will take place on 22 October this year.

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