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.
<Abolitions of Nuclear Weapons>
Towards this problem, we recognize that security and identity are the two main reasons why nuclear weapons are made. Many countries still depend on nuclear umbrellas and it is hard for them to disarm. Possessing nuclear weapons became the basis of power and status in the world
A lack of appropriate education has caused a lack of knowledge and attention towards the potential harm of nuclear weapons. In this way, many people do not seem to be aware of the threat of war and possible nuclear disasters.
Our world is divided because some of those people in power have become extremely self-centered. Governments consider their own countries first and it is hard to achieve international cooperation in this situation.
Also, sometimes social media does not take responsibility for improving mutual understanding and instead, propaganda worsens misunderstanding further.
For the citizens, the lack of belief in both the the possibility of the abolition of nuclear weapons as well as doubting the strength of international organizations to prevent the use and production of nuclear weapons.
For this challenge, we recommend opening workshops with war survivors to educate the young generation around the world.
We would like to suggest that we should recognize diversity. This will lead to the improvement of mutual understanding which is the first basic step of nuclear weapons abolishment.
We should tell people to understand that invisible violence can exist anywhere in the world.
We call for the government to create peace memorial museums in countries and cities around the world.
We also suggest supporting and developing female leadership because women are more interested in pursuing and bringing equality and peace to the local community as political leaders.
We can use social media to convey our thoughts on the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Besides spreading a message of peace, spreading the message of international recognition and friendliness is also important.
We would also like to discourage discrimination against nuclear victims by spreading their stories so as to maintain peoples’ awareness of nuclear disasters.
Hiroshima can continue to stand as the symbol of peace. It can also be an important example to prevent a nuclear incident from happening again. Hiroshima undeniably holds the most critical role in promoting peace and nuclear disarmament around the world.
Hiroshima should try to cooperate with those cities that have a similar painful experience. It will be a more effective way to raise awareness about the horrors of nuclear weapons and war.
<Reconstruction and Peacebuilding>
Towards peacebuilding, we recognize that the causes of violence and war are poverty and the lack of sufficient education. In addition, inequalitiy and discrimination exist all around the world, including in the field of wealth, gender and education. If discrimination continues, people will become dissatisfied and disaffected which may lead to large-scale conflicts, or even war. Discrimination can be one of the factors deepening distrust and conflict between nations and ethnic groups.
We also recognize that the selfishness of people and the self-centered way of thinking have brought tough issues in the field of peacebuilding. For the greater good of the humankind, politicians and citizens both need to change the old mindset on how we deal with international problems.
For this challenge, we suggest creating numerous events, such as this forum and the Asia kakehashi program, etc. to provide the opportunity to talk with people from different countries and exchange ideas, as well as establishing good relationships between countries.
For this challenge, we suggest active interaction with people from other countries using social media and other useful means. It is best to be able to recognize differences such as individuality while communicating with people of different nationalities, religions, and cultures. Education should also include learning about other religions and different cultures, increasing opportunities to interact with people from other countries, and tolerating diversity in order to eradicate inequality and discrimination.
For this challenge, we also suggest that we should focus on eliminating cultural and structural violence. We can do this by paying close attention to how we treat each other in society. By respecting diversity in our world, we could create both negative peace and positive peace.
For this challenge, we, the young generation, commit to participate in events, programs and seminars for peace building to educate ourselves with what is really happening in the world. We also accept the various values and ideas of people all over the world.
Towards peacebuilding, we should recognize that it is not easy to build a peaceful world and that it will take a great effort to realize our goal. We should send this message to younger generations as we hand over the baton of peace from Hibakusha to them and other people all over the world. We will be the next to push society forward, and the earlier we take action, the closer we get to achieving our common goal. Never doubt the power of one single person, and we believe that every effort of each of us matters.
Towards peacebuilding, Hiroshima should revitalize peace activities such as guides in Peace Memorial Park or other such volunteer activity regarding peacebuilding. Hiroshima should plan events related to peace that people can feel closer to and easily participate in. Hiroshima can show the cruelty of war and atomic bomb. In addition, the restoration of Hiroshima has set an excellent example for other cities and places around the world. Hiroshima should play the role of a bridge to connect and cooperate with cities in different countries
We expect Hiroshima to open opportunities like this forum and share the knowledge about peacebuilding and nuclear weapons abolishment in different languages for more understanding of Hiroshima’s role in encouraging people from different regions to study about peace.
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