We, the 59 participants of the 6th Hiroshima Junior International Forum, held from August 17th to 20th 2021, collaborated together online from 14 countries around the world. Our aim was to learn and discuss the abolition of nuclear weapons as well as peacebuilding. After learning about the abolition of nuclear weapons and peacebuilding, we are also spreading information about it as well.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force in January of this year. This will be an integral and essential step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. However, the division between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states has yet to be overcomed. In addition people around the world continue to be displaced by prolonged civil wars, terrorist attacks as well as natural disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose further challenges for the population of the world.
Under such circumstances, we are acutely aware of the importance of the need for the younger generation to act upon what we have learned here. Furthermore, we are convinced of the need to deepen our understanding of the challenges facing us and the current efforts being undertaken to meet those challenges. Having strong support from the Hiroshima community, we, the youth of today, participated in this forum as an important step for achieving such goals. Spending four days together, we learned from experts in this field, shared our knowledge and gained inspiration from each other.
In this Hiroshima Declaration, we have compiled the results and fruits of our learning and discussion. The Hiroshima Declaration is a proposal to local and national government leaders, business leaders around the world and the rest of society, as well as an action plan for us, the participants.
<Challenges and Solutions for Peacebuilding>
✧ Towards peacebuilding, we recognize that there is distrust among nations built on differences in economic and political systems.. The world could be a peaceful place without existing political divides; inequality, racism, sexism, discrimination, ethnic and religious conflicts.
In addition, peacebuilding is widely led by male elites which do not pay attention to the specific necessities and thoughts of women and minorities.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest not only boosting the organizations and movements directed to both protect the rights of minorities and the actions of women towards peacebuilding, but to encourage male-led bigger movements and organizations to include female leaders, their voices and actions more on their own agenda, so that peacebuilding becomes more impartial and equitable.
✧ We also recommend enhancing multicultural understanding as an important factor in order to achieve global peace. We advise people to come together and educate themselves about current global issues. We need to bring together coalitions and movements of well intentioned, well informed and enlightened people to help us overcome some of the tribal behaviors already damaging our world today at many levels, and we need to work together to rise above those damaging behaviors to bring about global peace.
<Our Role for Peacebuilding>
✧ We, the young people, commit to spread awareness and share information via social media and use online platforms to reach and encourage like-minded others to promote peacebuilding. Peace building helps our world from all aspects and we, the youth of today, need to voice our opinion and share the knowledge about peacebuilding to others in order to promote peace. There are many organizations that need young volunteers to participate and promote those organizations in their campaigns for peacebuilding and world peace.
✧ We, the young people, commit to buy “fair trade products”. War and internal conflicts have led to poverty and people lacking enough food. We must think of this problem as our problem. We can support the people by buying fair trade products. They are traded at a fair price, so producers can make a profit. This way, poverty will be improved, and that will help to deter some of the causes of these conflicts.
✧ We, the young people, commit to make this matter look more appealing by putting it on entertaining platforms like anime, movies, comic books, music. etc so that it becomes more accessible for the youth interested in peacebuilding.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Peacebuilding>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima can share its message of peace with the people all over the world. After the atomic bomb was dropped and Hiroshima was devastated, it was said plants or trees would not grow for 70 years because of the radiation. However, because of the hard work of people in Hiroshima and the support from around the world, the city was able to recover. Hiroshima has become a symbol of war reconstruction and peace building.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima should take a proactive stance towards peace education, not only inside Hiroshima. The average age of Hibakusha is getting older, we need a next generation who can pass on the tragedy of the nuclear weapons.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima should work to promote opportunities for students and people to visit this city to learn about peace. We hope these people will then spread this information to the rest of the world as well.
<Challenges and Solutions for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ Toward nuclear weapons abolition, we recognize that we do not trust each other. There are still many countries that own nuclear weapons to protect themselves but they have to realize that problems can be solved without weapons.
✧ For this challenge, we suggest that the international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, give support to the countries all around the globe, so that said countries may gain trust and friendship relations with each other. Therefore, there will be more space for communication and listening, and the opportunity to get help from each other in difficult situations, instead of fighting.
✧ For this challenge, we recommend that the nation states need regimes to counter what they perceive as existential threats. Nuclear weapons are still one of the most serious threats to mankind, and the dangers are growing. We need to realize that nuclear weapons have no benefits to the people and the environment.
<Our Role for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ We, the young people, commit to listen to the testimony of Hibakusha, who are atomic bomb survivors. They are getting older and it is getting difficult for us to hear the real experiences from them so we must understand how dangerous nuclear weapons are and we need to hand them down to posterities.
✧ We, the young people, commit to elect good leaders. Ms.Toshiko, one of the atomic bomb survivors, says that the bad thing is just the political leaders, not ordinary people so it is important for all people to monitor the political power and make them work for peacebuilding.
✧ We, the young people, commit to spread awareness of the inhuman nature of nuclear weapons within our own communities and will share our opinions without fear of the public eye. Also in that community we can find people who can work with and turn a small voice of hope for peace into a big voice. Each of us is a very weak force, but we can change society by raising our voices together without giving in to it.
✧ We, the young people, commit to support the companies and groups which oppose nuclear weapons development. For instance, we can support them by buying products made by them. If the companies and groups grow up, they will have great influence. So, the more companies become active in denuclearization, the more people know how big the nuclear threat is. The thing we can do is not big, but we can abolish nuclear weapons by cooperating with everyone.
<The Role of Hiroshima for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons>
✧ We believe that Hiroshima can connect, promote and inspire other countries that have been in the same situation as it is one of the places that had been hit by an atomic bomb but came back as one of the top peaceful cities. Hiroshima is now at peace and is developing at a high rate. It shows that peace is an important factor for a country to grow domestically and internationally.
✧ We believe that Hiroshima should hold more peace education events in other prefectures and foreign countries. Now, a lot of peace education events are held in Hiroshima. If these events are held in other areas, more people will have their own ideas about abolishment of nuclear weapons.
✧ We expect that Hiroshima should preserve the Hibakushas’ testimonies never to be forgotten and be aware of the danger of the nuclear weapons to the world. Not only in Japanese, we should translate them into English, so people all over the world can understand and think about the dangers of nuclear weapons.
We participants are now highly aware that specialized knowledge is fundamental for us to understand the challenges that we face and to be able to propose effective solutions. We have also reaffirmed that it is important to mutually respect each other while discussing issues and deriving solutions. While we recognized the importance of outreach, we also grew to realize the strategic relevance that we should spread our message by using the appropriate tools and methods.
We know that our responsibilities do not end with the announcement of the Hiroshima Declaration. We know we need to put the action plan presented here into practice. When we interact with people to share our suggestions, we know we need to collaborate with like-minded people, but we also need to have dialogues with people who hold different perspectives and opinions to seek better solutions for the whole of society. Through such efforts, we believe that we can achieve nuclear abolition, peacebuilding, and the resolution for other fundamentally vital issues.
Now all of us on earth face many challenges and difficulties. It is time for us to take decisive and concrete action, united by the same desire of making a better world for all of us. Understanding the limits of our power but the importance of our responsibilities, we hereby make this declaration and stake our determination to achieve it.
August 20, 2021