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 there are countries developing nuclear weapons though they know it is non-peaceful. Even if there are many treaties that have many meanings representing a peaceful world, it is regrettable that these treaties are not being respected. However, no matter how serious the problem is, these international treaties will eventually be meaningless if we continue to build nuclear weapons.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest investigating countries that develop nuclear weapons knowing that they are non-peaceful. This is because there may be circumstances that are not observed despite the fact that there is a treaty. We need to discover the reasons why those countries act like this.
✧ For this challenge, we recommend thinking more deeply about nuclear weapons and the atomic bombs used and our role is to spread our thoughts to many people.
<Our Role for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ What can we do to abolish nuclear weapons? We think the way to abolish nuclear weapons is to inform people about the horror of these weapons. Our generation has not experienced worldwide wars, so we are not fully aware of the horror of war or nuclear weapons. We do not think that we can abolish nuclear weapons if our generation, who will be responsible for the next generation, does not know this. So it is important to start by acquiring knowledge of nuclear weapons. It may be difficult to share it all over the world immediately, so we think it would be good to start from people around us, such as family and friends, and then spread it all over the world. The internet is widespread nowadays, so we should make effective and appropriate use of it.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima can become the base for the abolition of nuclear weapons by having tourists visit the peace memorial park and play an active role in the G7 summit to spread the horror of the atomic bomb.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima should spread the horror of nuclear weapons using social media. Even high school students can use social media to convey the dangers of nuclear weapons through information dissemination. So we think it is important for us to have the right knowledge of nuclear weapons and be interested in it.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima is capable of increasing the number of peace operators in the prefecture. Such as people volunteering for the United Nations.
<Challenges and Solutions for Peacebuilding>
✧ Towards peacebuilding, we recognize that one of the issues is poverty. If poverty is not solved, people will try to find a way to earn food without thinking about others. There are also areas that are not suitable for growing crops. The people who live there might take away the land by the threat of violence and the use of weapons. Also, we thought the reason that the number of nuclear weapons does not decrease is because we do not trust other countries.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest donating money and lending technology to other countries around the world. If the people there have enough money and have the tools to grow their own crops they can start to get out of poverty.
✧ For this challenge, we recommend trusting other countries. For example, countries sign a trade agreement and build a relationship of trust little by little leading to a sustainable society so that we will have long-lasting independence.
<Our Role for Peacebuilding>
✧ We, the young people, should give advice to other people to stand in the other person’s shoes. We should think about the positions and ideas of countries with nuclear weapons. In doing so we can know about causes of war and solutions. If we know the cause and the solution, we know what to do, and this will lead to peacebuilding. Besides, many young people have not experienced war. Every year, there are fewer and fewer people who survived World War II and have direct experience from it. This is a crisis, because there will be fewer opportunities to learn about the horrors of war, and the concept that war should be fought may decrease. In order to avoid this, we believe that those of us who have studied war in depth have a role to teach the horrors of war and encourage peacebuilding.
✧ We, the young people, commit to inform the seriousness of nuclear weapons and particularly, how many people lost their lives and were hurt in the attack. That kind of event should never be allowed to happen again. So we can tell people that by posting stories, pictures and videos on social media. In this way we can tell the story and depict the terrible damage and destruction immediately after the bomb was dropped as well as the testimonies of victims.
✧ We, the young people, can promote a student discussion and a Model United Nations Conference about political problems, in particular, kinds of war using nuclear weapons. By joining these activities, students in school can be more aware of the danger of such weapons and share ideas.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Peacebuilding>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima has to continue to be a symbolic place of peace.
The reason for this is, Hiroshima is only one of the few cities in the world that has suffered nuclear damage, and Hiroshima was able to recover from being destroyed.
✧ How can it become a city that is a symbolic city of peace? The solution is, Hiroshima can hold an international meeting where many students from other nations can join and share various ideas about culture and worldwide issues. That will lead to creating people who will become global leaders from many countries around the world. We think that it will be beneficial to everyone to show that Hiroshima is conducting more global peace activities. We believe that by doing so, everyone around the world will show more interest in peacebuilding. We want to educate people about the misery of nuclear weapons to many people through social media.
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