Statements Archive
Aug 9, 2015 - Japan-Korea Citizens' Statement on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II – For a Nuclear-Free, War-Free and Sustainable East Asia

Peace & Green Boat has been conducting joint voyages by ship as citizens from Japan and Korea for the past ten years, with the common goal of a peaceful and sustainable East Asia. On this 8th such voyage, 500 citizens from each of the two countries have boarded the ship for a ten-day journey through Japan, Korea and Russia, discussing issues of history, the environment, culture and peace, and nurturing many friendships.

Through this voyage, we have learned about the many issues currently being faced in East Asia, particularly in relation to the peace and environment of Korea and Japan. We have also discussed how to overcome these challenges, and what should be done in order to realize a truly peaceful and sustainable East Asia.

Today, on August 9, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, we have called to the port of Nagasaki, and as citizens from Japan and Korea together participated in the Peace Memorial Ceremony. Onboard the ship, we held an event "70 Years Since the Atomic Bombing: From Nagasaki to the Future", with the participation of Mayor Taue Tomihisa of Nagasaki, former Prime Ministers from both Korea and Japan, and Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from both countries. Here, we shared between citizens from both countries and also other countries around the world the horrors of the atomic bombings and radiation, the wish and efforts of the Hibakusha for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the growing international movement for a nuclear weapons ban.

At the same time, the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is expected to announce his statement on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on August 14, and there are concerns that the historical recognition of the Murayama Statement may be reversed. Furthermore, the Japanese Diet is forcibly pushing through new security bills, despite opposition from the majority of the Japanese public and observations by almost all of Japan's constitutional scholars that the process is unconstitutional. It must be said that these steps pose the danger of leading East Asia once again into an era of war.

In addition, conclusion of the nuclear disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan remains very distant. More than 100,000 people are still today forced to live in temporary housing, and contaminated water is being continuously released into the Pacific Ocean. In Korea, residents of areas surrounding the Kori Nuclear Power Plant are experiencing serious health effects as a result of exposure to radiation. This clearly demonstrates that nuclear power plants destroy the environment and human rights in East Asia. Yet, while not a single nuclear power plant was allowed to be in operation for the past approximately two years in Japan, the restart of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima is being planned for the day after tomorrow, August 11.

Taking seriously these threats to the environment and peace of East Asia, we as Peace & Green Boat call for the following:

  1. We call on the Governments of Japan and Korea, whose citizens have both been exposed to the effects of nuclear weapons, to support the "Humanitarian Pledge" as an international consensus to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, and to make sincere diplomatic efforts to realise a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
  2. We urge Prime Minister Abe to continue the historical recognition of the Murayama Statement in his statement marking 70 years since the end of World War II, and to clearly express the phrases "aggression," "colonial rule," "deep remorse" and "heartfelt apology," as included in the Murayama Statement. We also demand implementation of peaceful diplomacy which relies not on force but is based upon confidence building through dialogue.
  3. We demand repeal of the security bills currently being debated in the Japanese Diet, which would shake the very foundations of Japan's constitutionalism, deny the pacifist pledge to the international community which is Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and drive the countries of East Asia towards a further arms race and mutual distrust.
  4. Based on the experiences of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima, which impacted the history of all humankind, we strongly appeal to the Japanese Government and the Kyushu Electric Power Co. to cancel restart of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant. We further call on both the Japanese and Korean Governments to strongly promote policies which will advance the nuclear power phaseout and shift to renewable energy.

In conclusion, in light of the experience of this Japan-Korea citizens' voyage, and here in Nagasaki on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, we hereby pledge to continue earnest efforts towards building mutually acceptable historical recognition, and a peaceful and sustainable East Asia free from both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.

August 9, 2015
Choi Yul (President, Korean Green Foundation)
Yoshioka Tatsuya (Director, Peace Boat)

Download this statement as a PDF here.
Japanese language available here and Korean language here.