News Archive
Nov 30, 2013 - Peace Boat's 30th Anniversary Symposium report
Japanese drums (wadaiko) opened the event.
On November 9, 2013 (Saturday) in the city of Yokohama, Japan, Peace Boat held its 30th Anniversary Symposium "Travelling the Globle Towards our Future", with the participation of more than 800 supporters including past participants, guest educators and embassies representatives. During the event, guest speakers from Japan and the world joined us to look back at our first 30 years, and think about how to build on it towards our future. Please read below for a brief report on the highlights of this exciting event.

Peace Boat's staff members performed Japanese drums (wadaiko) for the opening performance. Japanese drums are regularly played onboard and in ports during Peace Boat voyages, delivering a message of peace to the world. In 2005, a Peace Boat delegation performed "wadaiko" at the United Nations headquarters as part of an international conference.


Panel Talk "Looking back on past wars, building a peaceful future"

One of the reasons Peace Boat organized its first voyages through Asia was the controversy of the revisionism in Japanese history textbooks. The importance of looking at the reality and the impact of war has not changed in 30 years. During this talk, direct victims, war journalists and researchers focused on what we need to learn from past wars in order to prevent armed conflict and build a peaceful society.
Heather Bowser (Second generation survivor of Agent Orange)

My father was exposed to Agent Orange while being deployed to Viet Nam during the Vietnam War. After coming back, he married my mother, who suffered two miscarriages before I was born. I weighted only 1500 grams at birth, and I was born without my right leg and several of my fingers. There are many children of veterans in the USA who are born with similar birth defects, and much more people living in Viet Nam who even today suffer similar and worst effects. I would like to continue raising my voice and sharing my story to bring awareness to this reality affecting thousands still today. Peace Boat's continuous support for children victim of Agent Orange effects is very important, as it is it's mission to keep bringing attention to the legacy of past wars still affecting us today.
Ishikawa Bunyo (Photojournalist)

Having covered many wars during my life I strongly believe that "war is murder". Most of the victims are civilians and long lasting diseases remain even after war is officially over. It is important for us to look at past wars, and use these experiences to always imagine what will happen in case of war. That will help us stop and prevent wars. The politicians who cause and bring us to war do not know the reality of war. A big problem in the Japanese public debate today is that people are talking without knowing this reality, since Japan has not addressed its past aggression.
Ikeda Akira (Atomic Bomb Survivor "Hibakusha" from Nagasaki)

I shared my testimony as a witness of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki around the world as part of Peace Boat's Hibakusha Project. Through meeting with victims of war in Vietnam and Auschwitz, I realized once more how war continues to rob us humans of our happiness. At the beginning I have to say I wondered what change could my own personal testimony bring. But, seeing the strong interest of those who listened to our testimonies and talking with them, motivated me to continue doing what I could. I firmly believe that constructing a world free of war and nuclear weapons is really possible.
Nicola Liscutin (Professor at Tokyo University)

We need be aware of the harm inflicted on women during the colonial rule, as for example in the "comfort women" case. The historical research in this topic only recently started and the world doesn't know much about all the women who have been sacrificed during wars. If those women who were victimized do not take courage to talk out, their existence is not recorded in history. I feel it very important to improve our historical recognition starting by listening to those women's voices.
Takahashi Tetsuya (Philosopher)

All the issues raised here, you might realize, involve discrimination. Many years ago a Danish Army General proposed a law establishing the order in which people should be deployed to the front of war. It started with the Head of State, followed by Parliament members and so on. It is clear that if such a law actually existed no wars will be started. This makes it clear how war is based on discrimination, and how the people who start war are certainly aware of this fact. The same can be said for the military bases in Okinawa or the nuclear plants. How to get rid of this inherently discriminatory structure is an important challenge for the leaders and the electors, citizens of this country.

Speech "From Fukushima to the World"

After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster, Peace Boat has continued to support the Fukushima youth and children through study tours and onboard programmes. Former Mayor of Futaba Town, who has been one of the strongest voice sharing the real situation in Fukushima across Japan and the world, joined us and shared some words with us.

Idogawa Katsutaka (Former Mayor of Futaba Town)

The Fukushima disaster has not only affected Fukushima but also the whole world. Having being exposed to the nuclear radiation and not being able to go back to my hometown because of it, I have continued to work for a nuclear free world. This year, Peace Boat gave me the opportunity to visit Europe and North European countries, and exchange meet with many citizens aiming for the same goal. I hope Peace Boat will continue its work and that it continues to spread the greatness and wonders of the Earth we live in.

Talk Session "People Supporting People, The Great East Japan Earthquake and Disaster Relief Volunteering"

Peace Boat's first participated in disaster relief after the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, going on to send relief goods and volunteers to many disaster affected areas around the world. After the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the "Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center (PBV)" was established in order to provide disaster relief more effectively and continuously whenever necessary. Its activities in the North East of Japan, centered in the cities of Ishinomaki and Onogawa in the Miyagi Prefecture have brought more than 80,000 volunteers to the region.

During this event, Mr Bandai Yoshinobu shared his experienced together with PBV Director Yamamoto Takashi. Bandai was a resident from Ishinomaki affected by the earthquake and tsunami, who went on to volunteer for the disaster relief activities in the city, and also joined a PBV delegation of volunteers to New York after Hurricane Sandy hit the city in October 2012, inspired by the support his region received from all around the world, and convinced that people supporting people is key to overcome disasters like these.

Speech "Messages from Europe and Asia"

Peace Boat works together with many wonderful people and organizations around the world. In this occasion, Peace Boat friends from Bosnia and Korea joined our celebrations in Japan and shared their message with us.

Jasna Bastic (Journalist from Former Yugoslavia)

I have been in charge of Peace Boat's International Programme since 2001. This programme invites youth from countries in conflict to learn about non-violent conflict resolution and peace building. The programme has continued to expand and in 2013 we were able to host groups from Saudi Arabia, Germany and Iran, among others. Many youth, such as Rami who is here with us today, have grown to be active peace builders in their communities. From my personal experience of war in Bosnia, I am convinced that violence and guns cannot solve any of the problems we face. Only through dialogue will we be able to understand each other and solve our differences.
Lee Meekyung (General Director, Korea Green Foundation)

Today I have brought a special message from Green Foundation's Director Yul Chio. My sincere congratulations on your 30th anniversary. The Green Foundation and Peace Boat first sailed together in 2005 bringing Korean and Japanese citizens together onboard one voyage, the Green & Peace Boat. This October, we were able to coordinate the 6th Peace & Green Boat voyage. Peace and the environment are closely linked, and during our voyages we have gained confidence that joining forces we can achieve better results. We are looking forward to together make the ecoship project a reality.


Panel Talk "Shifting Society, Beyond 3.11"

Five Japanese intellectuals shared their thoughts on how Japanese society can make a shift towards the future having experienced the 3.11 disaster.
Tezuka Makoto (Visualist)

Traditional dance of 'Kagura' (Shinto music and dance numbers) was performed as the centerpiece of a festival in Ogatsu district, Ishinomaki City, where the earthquake devastatation was severe. I wondered why the locals held the festival where the town no longer exists and made a short video of it. Festivals have been traditionally held annually to mark life's milestones. Kagura encouraged the locals who lost their livelihood to make up their mind and stand up again for a new phase of life. You can see here the lasting Japanese belief that people live along gods and the nature. The 3.11 disaster brought about an opportunity for us to revisit invisible spirituality and the way of life of Japanese people.
Sato Kenta (Board member of Fukushima Kaigi)

I evacuated from radiation polluted Iitate Village. The nuclear power plant has been always there ever since I was born, and throughout my life I never knew what we were supposed to do if and when an accident happened. From this lesson and regret, I have been visiting different regions to share my experience. I see difference in how my story is perceived among different generations when I talk about Fukushima. Elders are more knowledgeable while younger generation do not understand well due to lack of fundamental knowledge. Thus I feel the younger generation needs to think and reflect more about the lessons we should learn. It is my mission to keep delivering my message to the younger population.
Tanaka Yu (Environmental Activist)

I spent five million yen to install solar panels and storage batteries to self-supply electricity at my home in Okayama Prefecture. I heard voices like "I would do the same only if the price was a half" and as I was searching I met with people who sell self-sufficient kits for one million yen. Although the price went down to 1/5, people who said 'a half' have not done anything. This shows how people in Japan would rarely take action but mostly critique. Electricity companies intentionally make profit form individual households rather than from industry because they know that households do not have alternatives. The societal structure will change if each individual takes action to self-supply their own energy.
Ikeda Kayoko (Writer, Translator, The Committee of Seven for World Peace Appeal member)

I believe that we have to take actions proactively to create peace. Rather than simply waiting, creating an environment where people can live peacefully is what's called "positive peace." Prime Minister Abe appeals for "active pacifism" but what he does or wants to do is to send military forces to the other side of the world to pursue national interest. We have to realize that he does not really mean peace. The most important thing to prevent war is to make friends around the world. I believe that we need to continue to take actions in order to share the culture of positive peace with people around the world.
Miyadai Shinji (Sociologist, Tokyo Metropolitan University Professor)

The attributes of democracy is not majority vote but participation and subsumption. I am currently in search of a new democracy and a new idea of community. Japan is reliant on giant entities as we can see in the absolute safety myth of nuclear power plants. Japanese 'democracy' is fake because constituent individuals have long stopped to think. Reclaiming democracy from the fake society is what I mean by becoming independent through participation and subsumption such as the referendum.

Speech "Designing our future with the planet Earth!"

The "tangible Earth" installed on the stage is the world's first interactive globe that allows us to see various aspects of the Earth real-time. It visualizes vividly changes on the Earth surface including weather, disasters, and birds' migration. Takemura Shinichi, one of its principal developers, showed us the Earth in a cosmic context.

Takemura Shinichi (Professor at Kyoto University of Art & Design, Earth Literacy Program)

This "tangible Earth" allows you to see the Earth as seen from the space. It allows you to see real-time movement of clouds or to eliminate them to see the surface. Looking at the Earth from such a perspective, you will see that there are no borders on earth. Similarly, you will see that typhoons are always present in some places on earth, even though you?see no news of them once they are away from your home country. Typhoons are considered to be something terrible that cause disasters, but they also serve to stir up the sea and rejuvenate it. Without typhoons, the seas could become infertile. Seeing the Earth in a cosmic context, you will start seeing aspects of the Earth different than when you see it on the ground. Compared to the Earth, we, humans, are like flees on an elephant. We, the flees,?need to design a life of coexistence with the Earth while considering the temperature and conditions of the Earth today.
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