We, the 57 participants of the 7th Hiroshima Junior International Forum, held during August 16th and 20th 2022, gathered online from 12 countries to learn about and discuss the abolition of nuclear weapons and peacebuilding.
We, the younger generation, understand that billions of people around the world are frightened by the risk of nuclear weapons being used in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We also understand that not only in Ukraine but also around the world, there are millions of people whose lives and safety are threatened by armed conflicts. The issues of abolition of nuclear weapons and peacebuilding are just as important as ever.
We have a responsibility to free people from the threat of nuclear weapons and to restore dignity to people in conflict zones. In order to take action on nuclear abolition and peacebuilding, we, the youth of today, need to acquire expertise and build a network of like-minded peers. With the strong will of the people of Hiroshima, at this forum we had a chance to listen to the testimony of hibakusha and lecture of experts as well as discussing the challenges and solutions for abolition of nuclear weapons and peacebuilding.
The Hiroshima Declaration is the final output of all that we have learned and discussed over these 5 days. The Hiroshima Declaration is an action plan for ourselves and a proposal for like-minded people around the world.
<Challenges and Solutions for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
Over a period of time, the world has witnessed the darkest of horrors. Yet, the disaster of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing stays the darkest and in the words of many leaders- ‘the most inhumane one’.
Toward nuclear weapons abolition, we recognize that many people around the world are unaware about the current global threat that they are facing. Even the Japanese citizens themselves are unaware about the current issues with reference to the risk of the usage of nuclear weapons around the world since they believe they live in a safe environment.
Another challenge is the insecurity of the country leaders about the safety of their country and their sheer dependence on nuclear deterrence. This is itself the reason that a lot of them have yet not signed the TPNW treaty, which eventually heightens the risk of nuclear war.
Another major issue is that of nuclear terrorism. Some terrorists might try to obtain nuclear weapons and that combined with the fact that some nuclear materials are not as well protected as they should be, increases the risk of nuclear terrorism.
Additionally, the current Russian invasion into Ukraine has motivated other country leaders to think that they might have to use nuclear weapons to defend their countries. Proof of this, is that at this current moment, almost 1800 nuclear weapons are primed to be launched within a span of just 15 minutes. That is a far bigger threat than having nuclear weapons itself.
For these challenges, we propose the following solutions that should be implemented by people around the world as well as the governments:
● Organization of public events and discussion in schools and colleges to heighten the impact and make people aware about the current issue. Consequently, the Japan government too can conduct several local meetings and forums to discuss the possible solutions.
● Political campaigns conducted with the help of the Japanese government and other countries who share a similar perspective on the abolition of nuclear weapons would maximize the impact on a global level.
● As for nuclear terrorism, we propose the governments to ensure the safe keep of nuclear material as well as nuclear weapons. Also we propose that investing smartly in the sector of nuclear safety would be a wise choice.
<Our Role for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
The following measures can be taken by us to prevent the use of nuclear weapons:
First, we can conduct discussions in various schools to make the children aware about the issue and their link-up with like-minded young people to join us on this journey.
Second, we commit to use social media and other digital platforms to maximize the movement through workshops and discussions on the basis of whatever information we have gained here.
Third, we can conduct poster-making competitions in the nearby areas, and then further use them in demonstrations to sensitize the common people.
Finally, we can try to connect to the political leaders and understand their perspective on the same as well as convince them about the need for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
In our vision, the following can be the role of Hiroshima of deepen the impact-
Firstly, we believe that Hiroshima can globalize their testimonies of Hibakusha or the A-bomb survivors in different languages so that more people can realize the seriousness of the issue.
Secondly, we believe that Hiroshima should share their know-how of peace education for other prefectures in Japan and other countries.
Finally, we expect Hiroshima, along with the International society, to reach out to the UN and try to convince them to take up the abolition of nuclear weapons as a serious global issue.
<Challenges and Solutions for Peacebuilding>
Peacebuilding is a vital process to recover and reconstruct a region. It is an important component that prevents war in the very first place. Witnessing the current situation of the world we recognize that peace is what it needs the most right now- and here is our input.
Towards peacebuilding, we recognize that a lot of countries have insufficient resources which makes their people vulnerable to taking violent measures to satisfy their needs.
Countries that do not have healthy and open communication often give rise to misunderstandings that at a later stage can prove to be very risky.
Some countries are interfering in the internal conflicts among other countries which is complicating things in those areas.
A few country leaders are prioritizing military advancement above the societal needs of their people.
For these challenges, we recommend the countries to have open and healthy communication with each other, and in all issues- they shall try to sort it through proper dialogue.
Also, the countries shall develop themselves on the base levels first before making heavy investments in the defense sector.
Lastly, the country leaders shall make smarter financial choices to balance the societal and capitalist needs of the country.
<Our Role for Peacebuilding>
Along with these, we as the young leaders plan to carry out the following-
First, we commit to preach about global citizenship and acceptance through social media and other mediums of direct communication.
Second, we commit to engage multiple NGO’s to collaborate and assist the government in the matters of peace-building and making healthier social communities.
Third, we will conduct events where people belonging from various sectors like the defense, war survivors, economists, politicians and school teachers can come together and discuss peacebuilding and sustainability.
Finally, we commit to advertise the importance of sustainable living so that everybody can live sufficiently and comfortably.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Peacebuilding>
First, we believe that Hiroshima can focus more on sharing its experiences and stories through various mediums to the Japanese people who can further help her massif the impact around the world.
Second, we consider that Hiroshima can represent itself as the symbol of reconstruction and peacebuilding and can further inspire and guide the world to implement similar techniques.
Finally, we presume that if Hiroshima can connect to various countries as a full and active member of international society, then it can be a massive step towards world peacebuilding.
All the participants have come together and made the Hiroshima Declaration. But we cannot stop ourselves here. We pledge to put the action plan into practice. We are also determined to keep learning and expand the network of like-minded people through dialogue. When we interact with people, we promise to be sensitive to diversity and respectful of each other, as we have been in our dialogue with the participants of this forum.
We understand that the world faces many challenges and difficulties each of which requires concrete and concerted action. With the support of the people of Hiroshima and the friends we have made at this forum, we are standing at the starting line full of enthusiasm. We are keenly aware of our power and responsibility, and hereby declare our determination to live up to the Hiroshima Declaration.
August 20, 2022