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>
✧ Toward nuclear weapons abolition, we recognize that distrust between countries is one of the major challenges. This is due to the past and present conflicts between countries that lead them to regard each other as enemies. Countries with nuclear weapons hold on to them to protect themselves and would not let them go easily as they believe that doing so would enable them to be overpowered by those enemies.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest increasing sister/friendship cities around the world. The concept of sister/friendship cities usually refers to cooperative agreements or arrangements between cities and towns in two different countries that promote commercial, economic and cultural ties. If they are related through culture and not just an agreement, it might give the leaders more confidence and convey the danger of nuclear weapons.
✧ For this challenge, we recommend to leaders to keep this concept in mind; ‘Leave the past behind, work for tomorrow, and enjoy the present, because that’s why it’s called the present’ to understand that if we stay in the past we won’t see the future. Countries are not the same as they were 100 years ago. Things change and we need to change for good and improve trust among leaders.
<Our Role for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ We, the young people, commit to share our opinions and information about the awareness of nuclear weapons. For example, we spread our message through art/literature.
✧ We, the young people, commit to use social media and sharing information through technology for peace by sharing articles, documents, treaties, and others.
✧ We, the young people commit to sign proposals for nuclear disarmament and make protests. For example, we can hold moments of silence on August 6th and 9th to remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima can tell how terrifying nuclear weapons are. Recently, there are many people among the younger generation who do not know the horror of nuclear weapons. 77 years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, causing unbelievable damage the kind never seen before. Hibakusha continue to appeal that this mistake must not be repeated and can pass on their stories to the next generation. Hiroshima can also convey the horror of nuclear weapons not only to Japan but also to the world.
✧ We expect Hiroshima to create more opportunities for discussion like this International Junior Forum. It helps to have a deep understanding of the atomic bomb and peace and to share values with people from different backgrounds.
<Challenges and Solutions for Peacebuilding>
✧ Towards peacebuilding, we recognize the challenge that children cannot get proper education during conflicts, ongoing wars (example: the war between Russia and Ukraine), hunger and poverty, power politics and hegemonies, unwillingness to cooperate with people of different backgrounds, many places like Russia and Ukraine where young people are less interested in nuclear weapons.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest promoting and teaching human values and the importance of respect, that all people are equal. Invest more in health and self-sustaining energy. Promote the rights of indigenous people. Stop depending so much on technology and artificial intelligence.
✧ For this challenge, we recommend the press to keep the peace and support associations such as UNICEF and WHO, regularize conventional weapons globally, and reduce or limit resource extraction worldwide
<Our Role for Peacebuilding>
✧ We, the young people commit to learning and researching on the topic of peacebuilding. In order to contribute to the building and maintaining of peace, we must first understand the facts and point of views surrounding it. We can do this by looking for and utilizing credible resources to learn from. It is also important to ask professionals on the topic and the people around us for their opinions through discussions.
✧ We, the young people, commit to speaking out for peacebuilding. In recent years, young people have less interest in being involved in peace activity than before. We thought social media can be one of the tools we can use to attract more young people’s interest. The benefit of social networking is that it can help young people develop their interests and find other people who share the same interests. We were especially focused on the power of influencers. They have the power to persuade people to become interested in social issues which might be effective for young people to be more attentive. Other ways this can be done is through participating in protests or making creative works about peace (such as creating a children’s book based on Hibakusha testimonies).
<The Role of Hiroshima for Peacebuilding>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima can establish a peace education system. Hiroshima can teach Japanese and people who live in countries that are in the middle of military conflict on the importance of peace based on their history of recovering from the atomic bombing. Also, Hiroshima can provide more opportunities for learning about peacebuilding. By providing more opportunities, more and more people will be able to know how important peace is.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima should share Hiroshima’s past experiences with the rest of the world by using social media or websites. By using the Internet, information can be available to many people even if they cannot actually come to Hiroshima.
✧ We expect Hiroshima to be a leader to promote peacebuilding. It was said that Hiroshima would take a long time to recover after the atomic bomb was dropped, but it actually recovered quickly. Based on such experience, Hiroshima is capable of leading the world.
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