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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Conversation with the UN Secretary General; POWER OF YOUTH FROM HIROSHIMA

 August 6th, 2022, 77 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Representatives from 99 countries and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres attended the ceremony for the first time. Later that afternoon, UN Secretary General Guterres was joined by Japanese youth to discuss what must be done to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons and a sustainable world.


 The event, titled “Conversation with UN Secretary General Guterres Power of Youth from Hiroshima for a Tomorrow of Nuclear Disarmament,” was held at the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower and was attended by seven young people who have been actively engaged in peace activities in Japan and abroad, with the aim of conveying their thoughts to the UN chief.

 First, Mr. Guterres, the UN Secretary General, opened the meeting by saying, “There are many risks (wars, infectious diseases, etc.) that we have to fight against today. How can we share the message for the abolition of nuclear weapons? We want to pass on the responsibility from our generation to yours.”


 Each participant came to the microphone to introduce themselves and their activities.

 ”Dialogue is absolutely necessary for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” said one participant. “But many politicians don’t want to listen to us. I would like to hold a forum in Japan where we can have active discussions and where anyone can participate.” (Ryoka Nakamura)

“In order to achieve nuclear disarmament, it is essential for more and more people to acquire knowledge about war and nuclear weapons. I would like to create a place where young people from different countries can gather and discuss these issues, much like at the United Nations.” (Hideo Asano)
“It is more important than ever to create an online platform where people from all over the world can discuss issues that concern them.” (Kento Suzuki)
The participants voiced their thoughts with passion.

 In addition, there were other comments that were not directly related to the nuclear abolition movement. Issues such as wars and conflicts are often caused by environmental concerns. By considering not only nuclear issues but also global environmental issues at the same time, we can establish how each is connected and find clues to solving more problems,” said Ms. Hanako Okuno.

“It is important for activities that address various issues to be sustainable,” she said. “I think one way to achieve this is to combine peace activities with commercial activities. This will give us a new way to do peace work and bring in people who might not have been interested in peace work before.” (Mary Popio)
The participants also expressed their conviction that it is important to carry out activities with a multifaceted perspective.

 In response, UN Secretary General Guterres stated
“The Russian attack on Ukraine has made me realize that the nuclear threat must be eliminated. Our future lies in young people raising their voices and taking up the fight against those who hinder disarmament. For this to happen, we need opportunities and mechanisms for the youth to participate in political decision-making. It was a pleasure to spend time with you all today. Keep up the good work, young people!”
He concluded the forum, which lasted for about an hour, with his words of encouragement.

Introduction of the participants

Shizuka Kuramitsu: First photo, far left, participating as moderator
She is a student at Middlebury International Graduate School, Monterey, CA. She has participated in the Youth4Disarmament program of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and is currently working as an intern at ANT-Hiroshima.

Wataru Nakajima: Participating as a moderator (right side of the first photo)
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture. Currently a student at Akita International University. Focused on foreign policy and energy issues in Japan, as well as analyzing nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy from different perspectives. After graduating from high school, he founded the organization UNITE-Hiroshima and continues to work to bring nuclear issues closer to students visiting Hiroshima and people outside the prefecture through lectures and mentoring.

Suzuka Nakamura: Third from the left in the first photo
Born in Nagasaki Prefecture. Currently a student at Sophia University. She has participated in peace activities calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons based in Nagasaki since her high school days. She works as a researcher for Parliamentarian Watch, a project to visualize the stances of Japanese Diet members on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Kento Suzuki: Third from the right in the first photo
Student at Brown University School of Public Health in the United States. He researches the public health use of mindfulness-based interventions, etc. In 2020, he launched the “Self-Making Project” and offers free sessions.

Kako Okuno: Fourth from the left in the first photo
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture. Currently a student at Shiraume Gakuen Junior College. She founded “Fridays For Future Hiroshima,” a movement calling for action on climate change, and has organized marches, signed petitions, and made policy proposals. She also participates in the Hiroshima-based “Peace Culture Village(PCV)” and serves as a tour guide during peace education events.

Hideo Asano: Second from left in the first photo
Born in Ibaraki Prefecture. Graduate student at Kobe University. His research focuses on the global hibakusha issue and critical international relations theory. He serves as the secretary of the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, and participated in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna in June as a youth representative of the NGO Network.

Mary Popeo: Second from right in the first photo
Born in Massachusetts. She is co-founder of the Peace Culture Village (PCV), which promotes a culture of peace through entrepreneurship, education, and youth empowerment, as well as working with PCV youth leaders to provide peace education programs to more than 10,000 people annually in 45 countries around the world.

*You can watch “POWER OF YOUTH FROM HIROSHIMA” on YouTube!


The Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace/HOPe YouTube account

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