It will soon be 75 years since nuclear weapons were used on a city for the first time in human history. More than 200,000 people were killed by the atomic bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The threat of nuclear weapons has continued as the world entered the nuclear age after World War II, and today more than 13,000 nuclear weapons still remain in the world. At a time when there are concerns about a new nuclear arms race, we must convey to the world the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, as the Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) have been appealing for decades, and ensure that no nuclear weapons are ever again used.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by the United Nations three years ago, and is expected to soon enter into force. We urge all countries, including Japan, to join this treaty. As a member of the International Steering Group of Nobel Peace Laureate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Peace Boat is undertaking a number of initiatives towards this goal around the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Exclusive virtual tours of the museums of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
As a world first, exclusive online tours were held of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on July 22 and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum on July 24. Hosted by ICAN, Peace Boat was responsible for local coordination of these projects. Due to COVID-19 many visitors from around the world who had planned to come to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to mark the anniversaries this August were unable to travel to Japan. Thanks to the generous cooperation of the museums in both cities, we were able to virtually guide people from around the world around both of these important places. Mary Popeo of Peace Culture Village was guide in Hiroshima, while Kawaguchi Yusuke and Seto Mayu, young local peace activists, were in charge of filming and broadcasting. The video was viewed by 358 viewers during the live streaming, and 3,555 viewers over the following 24 hours. In Nagasaki, Yamaguchi Hibiki of the Nagasaki Testimony Society guided, supported by Kawamura Kazuki and Rejima Aoi, both members of the Nagasaki Youth Delegation, for filming and streaming. 151 people joined the live streaming, with 2,367 viewers in the next day.
In total, more than 6,000 people from all over the world were able to learn about the reality of the atomic bombing through this opportunity. There was active discussion on Instagram during the tours, including in particular many reactions to the tricycle of 3 year old Tetsutani Shinichi, who was killed by the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, and the photos of Nagasaki survivors Taniguchi Sumiteru and Yamaguchi Senji. We hope to continue to create such online opportunities in the future.
The Hiroshima-ICAN Academy 2020
Dozens of young professionals, students and activists from around the world are gathering online to learn everything they need to know to become the next generation of advocates for an end to nuclear weapons as part of the Hiroshima-ICAN Academy on Nuclear Weapons and Global Security 2020. Part 1 is taking place virtually through a series of webinars, lectures and online events, and in Part 2 participants will gather in Hiroshima once the situation allows. This year, 31 participants were selected from more than 110 applicants. Approximately half come from the nuclear-weapon states of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China, while the remainder are from 15 diverse countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, including Japan.
For further information about the programme, see the 2019 report here. You can also access many of the online learning materials here. A public seminar will be streamed live online on August 6 at 7pm Japan time; click here for event details.
Online anniversary events
Many organisations, both in Japan and overseas, are coordinating events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, convey the stories of the survivors, and provide a platform to discuss concrete action towards nuclear abolition.
Two such events now open for registration are:
Mayors for Peace: Peace Education Webinar
“No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!”
Future Leaders of Peace Activism
Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 7 pm – 9 pm (Japan Standard Time / UTC+09:00)
Nagasaki Prefecture, Nagasaki City and International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR): Online Event
The 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings
“Do we really need nuclear weapons? Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the time of COVID-19”
Sunday, August 9, 2020 6 pm - 8 pm (Japan Standard Time / UTC+09:00)
ICAN Anniversary site: sign the pledge
Please also visit ICAN's special site for the anniversaries (rise.icanw.org), to learn more about the stories of the Hibakusha, about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to take the pledge to REMEMBER the victims of the dawn of the nuclear weapons age in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, HONOR the survivors who seek the sunset of that age and pledge to JOIN THEM in their fight to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.