Peace activities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2009

27 August 2009
Nobuaki Koga, General Secretary
Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)

RENGO, GENSUIKIN, and KAKKIN co-organized the peace activities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from August 4 to 10 as the cities commemorated the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
This year’s peace activities were carried out with the feeling that the movement toward the elimination of nuclear weapons seems to be picking up under the influence of President Obama’s declaration in April in this year, “America has a moral responsibility to act for the abolition of nuclear weapons as the only nation that has used them”.

Koga, General Secretary of RENGOGemma Adaba, ITUC to UN

On August 4th, some 6500 people including RENGO members participated in “Peace Convention in Hiroshima for the elimination of nuclear weapons”
Speaking at the Convention, Koga, General Secretary of RENGO stated “It is said that as many as 21 thousand nuclear weapons still exist in the world. Human beings are now being exposed to the nuclear threat. North Korea that conducted nuclear test in May this year should immediately abolish the nuclear plan”, and he took up some of welcome move such as Obama’s speech to take concrete measures toward the world free of nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapons reduction agreement in US-Russia Summit on July 6th and the commitment toward 2010 NPT Review Conference reaffirmed in G8 Summit in Italy on July 8th.
He, furthermore, stated “as the success and failure of NPT review conference scheduled to held in New York in next May would represent watershed for the future process of the those weapons, Japan should take a leading role as the only A-bombed nation. As one of these efforts toward nuclear-free world, 3 organizations have requested President Obama to take a strong leadership as well as to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

Gemma Adaba, Representative of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to the United Nations, said “Today, as we look back on August 1945, it represents for us a low point in the history of humanity; for on the 6th and 9th of that month, death and destruction on an unimaginable scale were visited upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with deep traumatic consequences that are felt up to this day. I shall lend my full support to RENGO and the entire trade union movement in their advocacy efforts for a successful Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York, in May 2010.”

Prior to the convention, Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima (President of Mayor for Peace), each representative of 3 organizations and Adaba, ITUC to UN had a meeting and confirmed they would work together for the same cause.

Peace Concert, Atomic Bombed Piano was playedTsuyoshi Takagi, President of RENGO

On August 7, “Peace Convention in Nagasaki in 2009 for the elimination of nuclear weapons” was held with the participants of some 3900 people including members of labor unions all over the country.
Takagi, President of RENGO explained the current situation of nuclear weapons and expressed his sense of expectations to the speech by President Obama to take the concrete measures toward the nuclear free world. He also said Japan should lead the global movement toward a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
Giving a comment on support for atomic bombing survivors, he said “a lot of problems remain unsolved; the fact that about 7600 people are waiting for the review of official recognition as suffers of A-bomb diseases: the problem of medical check for the second generation survivors. The enhancement and the reinforcement of measures by the government to back up survivors are necessary.” He remarked “Although the road ahead will be tough, we will do our best to get rid of nuclear weapons from this planet at the earliest possible date, and to solve the problems which the survivors are faced with.”
Adaba, ITUC to UN, participated in the ceremony and made a speech as did in Hiroshima convention.
Philip Jennings, UNI General Secretary said “Nagasaki is the city that can appeal the importance of peace. Like everyone, UNI has a dream of world peace, the world without terrorist and the world without nuclear weapons. UNI is encouraged by President Obama’s speech to Russian students in July when he declared that America was committed to stopping nuclear proliferation and ultimately seeking a world without nuclear weapons and a new treaty signed with Russia to reduce warheads and delivery systems. We see this as a step of hope. UNI is joining a peace initiative whose goal is to get 10 million signatures on a petition addressed to United Nations. No matter how long the night is, the sun will never fail to rise. Let’s make joint efforts.”

Philip Jennings, UNI General SecretarySymposium in Nagasaki

Masatoku Nakajima, Chairman of Hibakusha-techo-yuaikai (fraternity for the atomic bomb survivors in Nagasaki) explained his own experience. Itami, Chairman of RENGO Hiroshima of
“Delegation of Peace Hiroshima” conveyed the peace massage.
A high school student, peace ambassador who is making an appeal for the realization of peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons, explained his determinations.
Union members in Nagasaki and their families performed “Oyako-de-tuzuru-heiwa-no-negai”(skits relating a message of a hope for the peace by parents and children) in which hope for the peace was expressed in songs and recital.
After “Peace appeal from Nagasaki” suggested by Yuko Mori, Chairman of RENGO women’s committee in Nagasaki was adopted, all the people there sang “Genbaku-wo-yurusumaji”( We shall never allow atomic bomb) . Finally the convention was closed.
Prior to the convention, 3 organizations and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue (Vice President of Mayors for Peace), exchanged their opinions toward the success of NPT Review Conference and affirmed that they would enhance their partnerships.