We, the 59 participants of the 6th Hiroshima Junior International Forum, held from August 17th to 20th 2021, collaborated together online from 14 countries around the world. Our aim was to learn about and discuss the abolition of nuclear weapons as well as peacebuilding.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force in January of this year. This will be an integral and essential step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. However, the division between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states has yet to be overcome. In addition people around the world continue to be displaced by prolonged civil wars, terrorist attacks as well as natural disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose further challenges for the population of the world.
Under such circumstances, we are acutely aware of the importance of the need for the younger generation to act upon what we have learned here. Furthermore, we are convinced of the need to deepen our understanding of the challenges facing us and the current efforts being undertaken to meet those challenges. Having strong support from the Hiroshima community, we, the youth of today, participated in this forum as an important step for achieving such goals. Spending four days together, we learned from experts in this field, shared our knowledge and gained inspiration from each other.
In this Hiroshima Declaration, we have compiled the results and fruits of our learning and discussion. The Hiroshima Declaration is a proposal to local and national government leaders, business leaders around the world and the rest of society, as well as an action plan for us, the participants.
<Challenges and Solutions for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
Toward nuclear weapons abolition, we recognize that as long as we keep using nuclear weapons, we might not achieve the peace we are seeking for so being able to come up with the abolition of nuclear weapons and achieve global peace, challenges and solutions will help us to overcome this. For this challenge, we recommend doing an online tour of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as well as Peace Culture Village, a bilingual team of foreigners and Japanese who pursue and practice a culture of peace. Introducing and using online tools or social media and participating in active peace operations, because if we cannot do it face to face then the use of Zoom or via an Online International Forum could help us to share our thoughts and still learn on how we are going to globally spread the importance of living peacefully. For instance, solutions on how to reduce the spread of and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
<Our Role for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
We, the young people, commit ourselves to informing our generation of this very sensitive and serious topic. By doing so, we think as teenagers and as part of the world’s future, we can help the rest of our generation to comprehend the effects of using nuclear weapons and how it could ruin our lives if a nuclear bombing ever happened and that abolition of nuclear weapons is the only way. We, the young people, would like people all over the world to know our appeal through social media and tell them that it is important for all of us to cherish our family and friends who support us because nuclear weapons can easily take away our lives and those of our loved ones. Abolishing nuclear weapons and peacebuilding are the problems that all of us should solve. We, the youth of today, should be learning more about this topic to come up with a solution to never again allow what happened to Hiroshima years ago.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
We believe that Hiroshima can send out messages for the abolition of nuclear weapons because it is only one of two cities in the world that knows the horror of nuclear weapons. Also people in Hiroshima’s peace education programme, so we have to play a central role in raising the people’s sense of the crisis about the existence of nuclear weapons and their consciousness about the abolition of nuclear weapons. It is sad to see, but there are many people who are not interested in the abolition of nuclear weapons and Hiroshima should continue to broadcast that message around the world.
We believe that Hiroshima should tell the story of the atomic bombing. The number of hibakusha is decreasing every year due to old age. So, we should listen to and learn something tangible from their story. In addition to this, Hiroshima and its people should encourage people around the world by telling the story of the Hiroshima tragedy. We expect that Hiroshima will become a more and more important city in the world so that it could inspire the rest of the world. The world is a tense situation now which is why Hiroshima has to send its message around the world.
<Challenges and Solutions for Peacebuilding>
We recognize that the core of peacebuilding is reducing the inequality of education between developing countries and developed countries because it is difficult for them to get a job and to develop countries if they cannot read, write and calculate. It will influence their income and poverty problems will be kept for a long time. So, we recommend that we borrow the power of large companies which make educational services when we design curriculums and textbooks for the people of developing countries. We think the most important thing is to pay more attention to countries and regions in need and not just follow their own interests and profits. After conflicts, former soldiers need to be integrated into society again as they could be a security threat if they can’t eat. To address this issue, we suggest that we hold a workshop, where they learn the skill and the knowledge to get a job. After the conflicts, some people may only know how to kill people, so we think it is important to change their hands not to have rifle but to have tools. We think if they have a job, they will get rich and it will become peaceful.
<Our Role for Peacebuilding>
We, the young people, commit to send messages to call for world peace by using SNS to people all over the world. Also to build positive peace, we, the young people, commit to sending messages about the problems that have been happening in the world. It is because wrong information may causes lots of problems, such as discrimination or prejudice and different races may have their own perspective about what is happening. We, the young people, commit ourselves to spread stories of those who are committed to international peace to the world and so that we could make ourselves understood with the importance of peacebuilding, so that we can provide this around the world. Our role as the teenagers of this generation is to help restore the peacebuilding around the world, also to strengthen democratic governance and solve problems at the local and national levels. As a youth, simple things we could do for promoting peace and by peacebuilding, is to be helpful to others if we can, try to meditate together with others and study for non-violence.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Peacebuilding>
We believe that Hiroshima could enlighten the world, that even though the tragedy that happened here so many years ago, they stood up, began their new life, and lived peacefully with those memories kept in their hearts. In that way the Hiroshima bombing survivors can openly tell their experience and let it out through the world for us to be informed and be inspired. We believe that Hiroshima should hold international conferences regularly. These conferences could share some of the learning on how to provide conflict resolution in different countries and some peace studies for international students who will join such conferences and forums that they present, while also learning another language which is also a big help for peacebuilding. Hiroshima could provide some good deeds internationally so that globally they could apply it to their own country too. We expect that they could resolve injustice in nonviolence ways to transform the structural conditions that generate deadly conflict globally.
We participants are now highly aware that specialized knowledge is fundamental for us to understand the challenges that we face and to be able to propose effective solutions. We have also reaffirmed that it is important to mutually respect each other while discussing issues and deriving solutions. While we recognized the importance of outreach, we also grew to realize the strategic relevance that we should spread our message by using the appropriate tools and methods.
We know that our responsibilities do not end with the announcement of the Hiroshima Declaration. We know we need to put the action plan presented here into practice. When we interact with people to share our suggestions, we know we need to collaborate with like-minded people, but we also need to have dialogues with people who hold different perspectives and opinions to seek better solutions for the whole of society. Through such efforts, we believe that we can achieve nuclear abolition, peacebuilding, and the resolution for other fundamentally vital issues.
Now all of us on earth face many challenges and difficulties. It is time for us to take decisive and concrete action. Understanding the limits of our power but the importance of our responsibilities, we hereby make this declaration and stake our determination to achieve it.
August 20, 2021