Re-emphasizing the inhumanity of nuclear weapons: Activities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2023

Sep 13, 2023

It has been 78 years since atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9.  The ongoing Russian full-scale military invasion of Ukraine since last year has increased the global nuclear threat. The declaration issued at the Hiroshima G7 Summit in May 2023 was more of an acceptance of nuclear possession rather than a commitment to nuclear disarmament. 

Under these circumstances, Peace Boat, as the international steering committee member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), once again conveyed the inhumanity of nuclear weapons to Japan and the world this August.


Live streaming 2023 from Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Vienna

The Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Abolition, in which Peace Boat also participates, connected Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Vienna through online platforms and broadcasted live internatinally  for 10 days. The series of events featured a diverse range of speakers, including atomic bomb survivors, NGO representatives, university professors, and young people.

Viewers were able to witness the lively atmosphere of side events at the conference venue in Vienna, where the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting was taking place. Key points discussed during the events included the prominent issue of gender, specific countries' perspectives on nuclear disarmament and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the controversy about the combination of synthetic images of the atomic bombings with promotion for the films "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer," recently screening worldwide. 

Watch the recordings (in Japanese language here


Parliamentarians' debate on Japan's role towards nuclear weapons abolition

The Japan NGO Conference for Nuclear Weapons Abolition organized a discussion forum for parliamentarians, clarifying the challenges facing nuclear disarmament domestically and internationally and the actions that Japan should take. Participants included party leaders and members of parliament from ruling and opposition parties, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu, and survivor of the atomic bomb, Setsuko Thurlow.

High Representative Nakamitsu emphasized the importance of reducing nuclear risks through practical discussions, rather than seeing the possession of nuclear weapons as the ultimate means of negotiation. Thurlow's statement that "we must never let such things happen again. Abolishing nuclear weapons is our only option," reaffirmed the significant role Japan should take in promoting nuclear disarmament in a world where the threat of nuclear war is increasing.

Furthermore, representatives of all political parties except the ruling Liberal Democratic Party strongly urged Japan's participation as an observer in the second meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to be held in November-December 2023.

Watch the recording (in Japanese language) here


Atomic Bomb Memorial Day Live Streaming from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Peace Boat, along with ICAN, paid tribute to the victims of the atomic bombings on August 6 and August 9 by holding moments of silence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the exact times the bombs were dropped. In live events held online, the fact that many people lost their precious everyday lives due to the atomic bombings was conveyed to people around the world.

From Hiroshima, with the tune of an A-bombed piano, its owner Akiko Kawamoto’s daily life before the bombing was shared. The fact that she passed away the day following the bombing at the age of 19 made the piano tune even deeper. The event closed with a wish from the HOPE project, which maintains and manages the piano, that the sound of the piano will continue in a world for lasting peace. 

From Nagasaki, an opinion ad that appeared in the Nagasaki newspaper on the memorial day was shared. It featured an illustration that can be seen in two different ways: as two people facing each other, or as a mushroom cloud. The illustration poses the question: “Weapons or Dialogue?". The event also introduced the a-bombed cedar trees at the Sanno shrine, which were revived despite the blast. In conclusion it featured a photo collection of the lost daily lives, emphasising that the people at the time lived similar lives as we do today.

Watch the Recording of Hiroshima Livestream (in English) here

Watch the Recording of the Nagasaki Livestream  (in English) here


Nagasaki: To know more, Remember and Pass on

Peace Boat, along with the consumer cooperative Palsystem in Ibaraki-Tochigi, Fukushima and Chiba, co-organized an event from Nagasaki on the occasion of the 78th anniversary of the bombing. A student engaged in peace activities introduced the hypocenter park and the Urakami Cathedral, where many Christians lost their lives, and her participation in drafting the Nagasaki Mayor's peace declaration. 

The event also featured the testimony of atomic bomb survivor Mitamura Shizuko, and photos collected for "Never Forget Project" initiated by another survivor Ogawa Tadayoshi. Shiroyama Elementary School (which also survived the atomic bombing and is now a peace museum) and the camphor trees at the Sanno Shrine (which suffered immense damage from the atomic bomb and is now a symbol of life and hope for peace) were also shown through video.

Watch the recording (in Japanese) here