Seizing the opportunity of the Non Proliferation Disarmament Initiative meeting in Hiroshima, a wide range of civil society organisations met to discuss future strategies and pathways towards a ban on nuclear weapons.
The session was set up in two parts. The first session focused on looking at the path from the Nayarit Conference to a ban on nuclear weapons. Tilman Ruff, of IPPNW was the first speaker, followed by Dr. Tomonaga Masawa who until recently was the president of the Red Cross Hospital in Nagasaki, and presented at both Oslo and Nayartit conferences and lastly, Tanaka Terumi, Secretary-General of Nihon Hidankyo who also gave testimony at the Mexico Conference.
Tilman outlined the state of play, the resurgence of the humanitarian narrative related to nuclear weapons and encouraged people to make it clear “Nuclear weapons: not in our name, not by our hand”. He also recognised that a number of countries, like Australia and Japan, are adding to proliferation dangers. For example, Japan still produces plutonium, and reaffirmed the desire to continue doing so in a Cabinet decision taken on 11 April. Australia on the other hand, exports uranium to all of the recognised nuclear weapons states and is currently negotiating with India to sell them the raw material for nuclear weapons.
Dr. Tomonaga Masawa posed some questions to the group- do we want the nuclear armed countries to participate in the humanitarian consequences conferences? Was there real support or not for the chair’s statement at the end of the Nayarit conference? Is this uniting or divisive?
Tanaka Terumi reminded everyone that he was 13 years old at the time of the Nagasaki bombing. He encouraged everyone to work more with young people, especially second and third generation Hibakusha. He also encouraged people to work more with Hibakusha in Korea, and other places. That the human experiences are a driving force to prevent the inhumanity of the devil’s weapon.
The discussion following covered a number of issues, including how to best stigmatise nuclear weapons, how to best share information about the possible climate impacts of the weapons, and more.
A second session took place with three members of the Japanese Parliament (Diet), where they explained their aspirations for a nuclear weapons free world, including by limiting proliferation risks through stopping the Japanese production of plutonium. Other concrete ideas were put forward for strengthening the national Japanese campaign, including the suggestion of using an international day of action (like to visit every member of the Diet and request their signature on the ICAN Parliamentary appeal.
Following the morning discussions an event was held in the Hiroshima Peace Park, across from the historic A-Bomb memorial dome. This event featured short speeches and live music, and engaged countless passersby who stopped, listened, and some asked questions about how they too could get involved. Videos were taken of all the speakers at the Peace Park, and they can be found online here: http://m.ustream.tv/channel/ban-nuclear-weapons-now