We, the 30 participants of the 5th Hiroshima Junior International Forum, held on November 29th, December 6th and 13th 2020, collaborated together online from 14 countries to learn about and discuss the abolition of nuclear weapons as well as peace-building.
In 2020, the world has been massively influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has not hampered the enthusiasm of us, the younger generation, to learn about the challenges of the world and together discuss what we should do to make the world a better place.
Supported by the strong will of the people of Hiroshima and their desire for action, we, the youth of today, learned about nuclear weapon abolition and peacebuilding, had three wonderful days filled with disarmament learning and mutual understanding. Together, we listened to lectures from both Atomic-bomb survivors, experts on nuclear disarmament and peacebuilding, and then discussed the challenges we face in finding solutions for these two fundamentally critical issues.
We have incorporated the results of our learning and discussions in this Hiroshima Declaration. This Hiroshima Declaration is an action plan for us as participants and also a proposal that we hope to share with like-minded people around the world.
<Section1: Challenges and solutions towards the Nuclear disarmament>
We think the two main challenges are that not enough people are sufficiently aware of nuclear weapons and their disarmament and the lack of mutual trusts between countries. Also, the education system did not provide us with the opportunities to acquire knowledge about nuclear weapons.
For solutions for these challenges, we suggest abolishing nuclear umbrellas and finding chances for countries to cooperate with each other not only in nuclear disarmament but also in SDGs. Furthermore, we should look for alternative ways to solve a conflict such as negotiations.
< Section2: Roles of the young generation>
First, using social media to spread our thoughts and encouraging more people to think about nuclear weapons. Second, raising our voice by voting to influence in the government to encourage them for changing the education system.
The thought we would like to deliver is that nuclear weapons are unnecessary. To change the way of thinking about nuclear weapons, the word “Nuclear taboo” might be a key term. Additionally, organizing students into groups might be efficient to do so. We do not have power to change political things but what we can do is, raise our voices. For instance, vote when we can and collect signatures.
< Section3: Role of Hiroshima>
Sharing the Hibakusha’s stories and the horror of the nuclear weapons as well as suggesting alternative ways of dialogue for solving any conflicts. Encouraging people to visit Hiroshima memorial places. Try to preserve buildings damaged by the atomic bombing such as A-Bomb dome and the Hifukushisho (= former Army Clothing Depot’s buildings) for decades to come. Updating the school system to suit the current generation, for example using virtual reality to experience what happened 75 years ago and making animation and prepare more opportunities that foster discussions with classmates.
< Section4: Challenges and Solutions for more peaceful world>
We would love to achieve a peaceful world in the future. There are also many challenges. We face such problems as a lack of understanding of peacebuilding as well as the diverse meaning of “peace.” We do not recognize which peace has a different meaning for different people.
The solutions we suggest are to make a connection with several people all around the World through social media where we can discuss the meaning of peace so we can find similarities among different kinds of peace. We also suggest updating the education system. We have only been partially educated about peace. So we would like to acquire a deep and wide knowledge about peace, including both “Negative Peace” and “Positive Peace.”
< Section5: Roles of the young generation to create more peaceful world>
We should learn more about the political system to influence the government to make younger generation people have more interested in political issues because nowadays some people have very little interest in politics. Therefore we, as a responsible generation, should negotiate with the social media providers such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to add world news columns which reach everyone. We also suggest making presentations from where we can learn from this forum and then present them within our own community. Young people can arrange this kind of forum by themselves through online services or if possible, gathering in one place is also a good idea.
< Section6: Roles of Hiroshima to create more peaceful world>
We would like Hiroshima to continue to provide this kind of occasion for future generations. Also Hiroshima Prefecture should provide a variety of forum because some people might not be interested in this kind of forum. Therefore, Hiroshima prefecture should provide more enjoyable events related to peacebuilding, too. After the COVID-19 crisis Hiroshima Prefecture may provide opportunities to meet, interact directly, and encourage mutual understanding through activities such as cooking and playing sports. Direct contact among young generation must be continued because it is also effective for mutual understanding
We, the participants of this forum, learned the importance of the ongoing process as we found about the challenges for world peace, the search for the causes of those challenges, and also how to find and develop solutions. We also learned that we can enhance our understanding of the challenges and reach more comprehensive solutions by talking to people from diverse backgrounds with mutual respect.
We know that our responsibilities do not end with the completion of the Hiroshima Declaration. We know we need to put the action plan presented here into practice, and we need to interact with people to share our suggestions. And when interacting with other people, we will make sure we value diversity and respect each other, just as we did in the dialogues that took place between us participants. Through such efforts, we believe that we can make strong ties among people around the world, and achieve results on nuclear abolition, peacebuilding, and other fundamentally vital issues. In this way, we believe that our efforts can lead the world to a better place.
The world we live in is facing many challenges and difficulties. It is time for us to take decisive and concrete actions. As global citizens and future young leaders of the world, we are here to make small changes for bigger changes towards a fully denuclearized, demilitarized, and peaceful world. Recognizing our power and responsibilities, we hereby strongly declare our determination.
December 13, 2020