Nachfolgend finden Sie zunächst die deutsche Übersetzung der Friedenserklärungen der Bürgermeister von Hiroshima und Nagasagi von 2001. Anschließend finden Sie hier die englischen Versionen der Peace Declarations des Bürgermeisters von Hiroshima ab dem Jahr 1997 sowie die Peace Declaration des Bürgermeisters von Nagasaki der Jahre 2006 und 2009.
Vom Bürgermeister von Hiroshima, Herrn Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba:
Am ersten 6. August des neuen Jahrhunderts erklären wir, die Bürger von Hiroshima, als lebende Zeugen des "Jahrhunderts der Kriege" hiermit, daß wir alles in unserer Macht stehende tun werden, das 21. Jahrhundert zum Jahrhundert des Friedens und der Humanität zu machen, frei von Nuklearwaffen.
Wir glauben, daß Humanität unsere Bereitschaft meint, den Stimmen aller empfindungsfähigen Wesen zuzuhören. Humanität meint auch, Kinder mit liebender Fürsorge großzuziehen. Sie bedeutet, den Wert der Versöhnung zu erkennen. Sie bedeutet das Rückweisen von Gewalt und das Erreichen von friedlichen Übereinkünften durch die Macht von Vernunft und Gewissen. Humanität allein kann
die Abschaffung von Nuklearwaffen gewährleisten; allein Humanität kann sicherstellen, daß Nuklearwaffen nie wieder neu erfunden werden, wenn sie einmal beseitigt worden sind.
Hiroshima beabsichtigt, im 21. Jahrhundert zu neuen Höhen als Stadt der Humanität emporzusteigen. Wir beabsichtigen, ein spirituelles Zuhause für alle Menschen zu schaffen, ein Zuhause des Erbarmens, eine Quelle der Kreativität und Energie für die Kinder und die Jugend unseres Planeten, eine Stadt des persönlichen Ausruhens und Wohlergehens für alle, Junge und Alte, Männer und Frauen.
Das kalendermäßige Ende des Jahrhunderts der Kriege hat nicht automatisch zu einem Jahrhundert des Friedens und der Humanität geführt. Unsere Welt ist nicht nur von der direkten Gewalt regionaler Konflikte und Bürgerkriege überschattet, sondern auch von zahllosen anderen Formen von Gewalt, darunter die Zerstörung der Umwelt, Gewalt fördernde Veröffentlichungen, Bilder und Spiele. Mit Hilfe der Fortschritte in Wissenschaft und Technik versuchen heute einige, die Schlachtfelder auf den Weltraum auszudehnen.
Als erstes müssen die politischen Führer und führenden Nationen der Welt bescheiden und unerschrocken diese Realität anschauen. Sie müssen ferner einen starken Willen besitzen, Nuklearwaffen zu beseitigen und Aufrichtigkeit im Befolgen geschlossener Verträge, die ja Kristallisation menschlicher Weisheit darstellen, und schließlich den Mut, der dazu gehört, Versöhnung und Humanität zur höchsten Priorität zu machen.
Viele Hibakusha (Opfer der Atombombe, die den Abwurf überlebt haben, aber auch deren Nachkommen) und deren verwandte Seelen fühlen sich aufgerufen, das Schicksal der ganzen menschlichen Rasse auf ihren Schultern zu tragen, haben für die Abschaffung von Nuklearwaffen und den Weltfrieden mit einem Willen gestrebt, der stark genug ist, massives Gestein zu zerschneiden. Für die Hibakusha bleibt die lebendige Hölle, die sie vor 56 Jahren erlitten haben, noch heute lebendig und gegenwärtig. Daher sind die Übermittlung der Erinnerung der Hibakusha an zukünftige Generationen, deren Sinn für Verantwortung und ihr nicht nachlassender Wille die zuverlässigsten ersten Schritte in Richtung des Überlebens im 21. Jahrhundert bis in das 22. Jahrhundert hinein, verbunden durch eine Brücke der Hoffnung.
Zu diesem Zweck ist die Stadt Hiroshima gerade dabei, in die Wiederbelebung der "Friedenserziehung" zu investieren - im weitesten Sinn dieses Wortes. Besonders sind wir bestrebt, an den bedeutenden Universitäten in der ganzen Welt Studienangebote zur Friedensforschung und Friedenserziehung der Städte Hiroshima und Nagasaki (wörtlich: Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Courses ) einzurichten. Die Grundlage hierfür wird mit Hilfe der Arbeiten das Hiroshima Peace Instututes und ähnlicher Einrichtungen geschaffen, deren akademische Bemühungen auf der Basis unveränderlicher Fakten die Menschheit der Wahrheit näher gebracht haben.
In dieser Woche haben die Bürger von Hiroshima die "World Conference of Mayors for Peace and Inter-City Solidarity" zu Gast. Die Konferenz wurde zu dem erklärten Zweck organisiert, Nuklearwaffen abzuschaffen und den Weltfrieden durch die von der Wahrheit geleitete Solidarität zwischen den Städten zu verwirklichen - den Einrichtungen, die in herausragender Weise die Fackel der Humanität in das 21. Jahrhundert tragen werden. Es ist keine Fantasie zu glauben, daß die Städte, die diesem Bündnis angehören, in Zukunft andere Gemeinden dahin führen, den Kreis der "nuclear-free authorities" zu erweitern, bis schließlich die ganze Erde eine einzige, fest miteinander verbundene nuklearwaffenfreie Zone sein wird.
Hiroshima ruft die nationale Regierung von Japan auf, eine aktive Vermittlerrolle in Asien zu übernehmen, um nuklearwaffenfreie Zonen zu schaffen und vertrauensbildende Maßnahmen zu ergreifen. Wir erwarten ferner von der nationalen Politik, daß Japan eine Initiative für einen globalen Vertrag ergreift, der Nuklearwaffen für immer verbietet. Wir verlangen von unserer Regierung, den Beitrag der Hibakusha in angemessener Weise zu bewerten, wo immer sie leben mögen, was in verbesserten Unterstützungsmaßnahmen gipfeln sollte, die ihre Rechte respektieren. Schließlich fordern wir von unserer nationalen Regierung, den eisernen Willen zu schmieden, die Nuklearwaffen abzuschaffen und - in Übereinstimmung mit der Präambel unserer Verfassung - mit Hiroshima in dem Bemühen zusammen zu arbeiten, ein Jahrhundert des Friedens und der Humanität zu schaffen.
An diesem ersten 6. August des 21. Jahrhunderts bezeugen wir den Seelen aller Atombombenopfer unseren Respekt, indem wir geloben, den Frieden dieses Augenblicks über die ganze Welt und das ganze 21. Jahrhundert zu verbreiten.
Tadatoshi Akiba, 6. August 2001
Vom Bürgermeister von Nagasaki, Herrn Iccho Itoh († 2007):
Nachdem wir ein neues Jahrhundert betreten haben, beten wir von Herzen für die Ruhe der Seelen der Menschen, die bei den atomaren Bombardierungen starben, und für all die Kriegsopfer in jedem Land und bitten von der atomar bombardierten Stadt Nagasaki aus die Welt um Frieden.
Wir Bürger von Nagasaki haben stets und ständig dazu aufgerufen, daß das 21. Jahrhundert eine von Nuklearwaffen freie Ära werde. Ungeachtet dessen gibt es nicht weniger als 30.000 nukleare Srengköpfe auf der Oberfläche unseres Planeten und die nukleare Bedrohung ist gerade dabei, sich in den Weltraum auszudehnen. Vor 56 Jahren bedurfte es nur einer einzigen und relativ primitiven Atombombe, um unsere Stadt augenblicklich in eine Hölle auf Erden zu verwandeln.
Das 20. Jahrhundert war für die Menschheit eine Zeit großen Fortschritts auf dem Gebiet von Wissenschaft und Technik, und ebenso sehr im Bereich des Bewußtseins für Menschenrechte. Zur gleichen Zeit brachte das 20. Jahrhundert aber auch Nuklearwaffen hervor, Instrumente die in der Lage sind, die ganze Menschheit zu zerstören. Die Nuklearwaffenstaaten haben sich geweigert, diese Instrumente aufzugeben, sogar nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges, und eine nukleare Supermacht ist gerade dabei anzudeuten, internationale Verpflichtungen im Bereich nuklearer Abrüstung nicht einzuhalten. Wir stellen uns leidenschaftlich gegen diese Veränderungen, die frühere Anstrengungen für die Abschaffung von Nuklearwaffen zunichte machen könnten.
Es sollte nicht zugelassen werden, daß die im Mai des Jahres 2000 auf der "Reniew Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Prolifiration of Nuclear Weapons" getroffene Übereinkunft über "unwiderrufliche Maßnahmen zur vollständigen Beseitigung der nuklearen Arsenale ..." zu einem leeren Versprechen wird. Wir werden im Einklang mit den Völkern der Welt fortfahren, unsere Stimme für die Verwirklichung dieser Maßnahmen zu erheben.
Die japanische Regierung repräsentiert eine Nation, die einen nuklearen Angriff erlitten hat. Wir drängen sie, eine aktive und zweckdienliche Rolle zur Abschaffung der Nuklearwaffen zu spielen und zu einer internationalen Zusammenkunft aufzurufen, die einen Vertrag über deren Verbot in Kraft setzt. Japan muß die friedlichen Ideale seiner Verfassung aufrechterhalten, mit Nachbarländern vertrauensbildende Maßnahmen aufbauen, indem es der Geschichte seiner Aggression gerade ins Gesicht schaut, und an der Errichtung einer atomwaffenfreien Zone Nordostasien arbeiten, die Japan zum Heraustreten aus dem "nuklearen Schutzschirm" befähigt. Dementsprechend müssen die dreifachen nicht-nuklearen Prinzipien in Gesetzesform gebracht werden.
Wir fordern ferner ein höheres Niveau der Fürsorge und Unterstützung für alle Überlebenden der Atombe, sowohl in Japan, als auch im Ausland. die vergangenen 56 Jahre haben die körperlichen und seelischen Qualen der Überlebenden der Atombombe in keiner Weise erleichtert. Vielmehr werden Angst und Unbehagen von Jahr zu Jahr größer. Zur gleichen Zeit darf die japanische Regierung diejenigen nicht vergessen, die in ähnlicher Weise leiden, obwohl sie in Bezirken innerhalb und außerhalb Nagasakis wohnen, die nicht offiziell als von der Atombombe betroffen anerkannt werden (#).
Es ist ermutigend, daß junge Leute in Nagasaki freiwillig Programme entwerfen, die sich mit dem Frieden befassen und sich in vielfältigen Bemühungen und Aktivitäten engagieren. So veranstaltet z.B. gerade eine Gruppe von Oberschülern eine Kampagne zum Sammeln von 10.000 Unterschriften zur Unterstützung der Beseitigung von Nuklearwaffen, und wir sind stolz bei dem Gedanken, dass eine neue Generation von jungen Menschen sich gerade erhebt, aktiv wird und Initiative ergreift. Ferner ist die Stadt Nagasaki dabei, das "Nagasaki Friedenserziehungsprogramm" zu schaffen, das junge Leute ermutigt, über die atomaren Bombardierungen und über Freiden und Menschenrechte zu diskutieren und etwas darüber zu lernen, und zwar in einem Kontext, der verschiedene Generationen einbezieht. So arbeiten wir daran, menschliche Ressourcen für ein aktives Streben nach Frieden zu entwickeln.
Im November 2000 war Nagasaki Gastgeber einer in Japan zum ersten Mal stattfindenden Veranstaltung, die lokale Regierungen und Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NGO) zusammen brachte, die "Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons". Diese Veranstaltung bestärkte uns in dem Glauben, daß die vereinte Aktion gewöhnlicher Bürger tatsächlich die Welt bewegen kann. Wenn wir uns in Erinnerung zurückrufen, daß weltweite bodenständige Aktionen einen Vertrag über das internationale Verbot von Anti-Personen-Landminen zustande gebracht haben, werden wir unsere Verbindungen mit den NGO's und den Stadtverwaltungen auf dem ganzen Globus verstärken, um an vorderster Front der Bemühungen zu stehen, die Nuklearwaffen abzuschaffen.
Nagasaki muß für immer der letzte Ort bleiben, der einen nuklearen Angriff erlitten hat. Wir Bürger von Nagasaki geloben, jede mögliche Anstrengung auf uns zu nehmen, um sicherzustellen, daß das 21. Jahrhundert eines des Friedens ist, frei von Nuklearwaffen und vom Krieg selbst.
Iccho Itoh, 9. August 2001
(#) Solche "undesignated areas" beziehen sich auf Gebiete innerhalb eines Kreises mit einem Radius von 12 km vom Epizentrum, die noch nicht offiziell anerkannt sind als von der atomaren Bombardierung betroffenes Gebiet.
Die deutschen Texte dieser beiden Friedenserklärungen sind der Broschüre "Dokumentation der Eröffnungsveranstaltung und des Begleitprogramms einer Ausstellung an der TFH Berlin Hirohima Nagasaki 2001" entnommen, die im Juni 2002 von der TFH Berlin herausgegeben wurde.
Since 1947, the Mayor of Hiroshima has delivered a Peace Declaration on August 6 every year. The memorable features of these speeches can be seen here:
Peace Declaration 1997 here...
Peace Declaration 1998 here...
Peace Declaration 1999 here...
Peace Declaration 2000 here...
Peace Declaration 2001 here...
Peace Declaration 2002 here...
Peace Declaration 2003 here...
Peace Declaration 2004 here...
Peace Declaration 2005 here...
Peace Declaration 2006 here...
Peace Declaration 2007 here...
Peace Declaration 2008 here...
Peace Declaration 2009 here...
Nagasaki Peace Declaration August 9, 2006 here...
Nagasaki Peace Declaration August 9, 2009 here...
Darüberhinaus finden Sie hier die Rede des US-Präsidenten Barack Obama, die er am
5. April 2009 in Prag gehalten hat.
In dieser Rede ging Obama ausführlich auf die Bedrohung durch Atomwaffen ein, die mit dem Ende des kalten Krieges nicht beendet wurde, sondern sich durch weitere Verbreitung der Atomwaffen sowie weltweiten Terrorismus noch verschärft hat. Obama appellierte an die Staatengemeinschaft, unverzüglich konkrete Anstrengungen zur atomaren Abrüstung einzuleiten und bot an, dass die USA diesen Prozeß anführen.
Obamas Rede vom 5. April 2009 in Prag finden Sie hier...
1997 Peace Declaration of Hiroshima's Major:
It was 52 years ago today that a single atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. The skies flashed brighter than a thousand suns and a huge mushroom cloud rose above the city. Untold numbers perished in the sea of flames that followed, and the survivors still suffer from radiation's debilitating aftereffects.
This event engendered profound distrust of the scientific civilization that has made such dramatic progress over the last hundred years. Science and technology have spawned many conveniences and made our lives more comfortable, yet they have also been employed to create the weapons of mass destruction used over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not only do nuclear weapons imperil humanity's future, the civilization that created them gravely impacts the whole of the global ecosystem.
We in Hiroshima are outraged that nuclear weapons have yet to be abolished and banished from the face of the earth, and we are very uneasy about the future of civilization.
In signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the international community agreed to put a halt to all nuclear explosions, but much remains to be done before the CTBT can go into force. This was the situation when the United States conducted a subcritical test which it contends is not banned by the CTBT language. On the one hand, the U.S. promises to reduce its stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and on the other hand it obstinately maintains its nuclear testing program. This attitude is utterly devoid of the wisdom needed if all peoples are to co-exist. We implore the global community to recognize that nuclear weapons stand at the very apex of all of the violence that war represents.
The Fourth World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity currently meeting in Hiroshima seeks a nuclear-free world and is deliberating calling upon all governments and international institutions to conclude a pact banning the use of nuclear weapons and to expand nuclear-weapons-free zones. Hiroshima specifically calls upon thegovernment of Japan to devise security arrangements that do not rely upon a nuclear umbrella.
Japan and other countries differ in language, religion, and customs, and there are also some differences of historical perspective, particularly with our neighbors. All the more do we hope that candid dialogue among all the peoples of the world will result in a shared vision of a brighter tomorrow.
With the world in tumultuous transition, we intend to take every opportunity at home and abroad to convey not only the terrible violence, destruction, and death the atomic bomb wrought but also the inspiring beauty of human life striving toward the future despite experiencing abject despair. The culture of peace generated in the process of Hiroshima's rebirth is a beacon of hope for all humanity, just as the Atomic Bomb Dome, now designated a World Heritage site, stands as a symbol of hope for all who reject nuclear weapons.
Along with paying our utmost respects to the souls of those who died, we pledge ourselves anew on this Peace Memorial Day to pressing for compassionate assistance policies grounded in reality for the aging hibakusha wherever they may live.
"Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed". This thought from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Constitution must be indelibly etched in our hearts, and I hereby declare it Hiroshima's resolve.
1998 Peace Declaration of Hiroshima's Major:
Fifty-three years after the tragedy of Hiroshima, states remain deeply distrustful of each other and the world is on the brink of a new crisis.
With the nuclear tests by first India and then Pakistan, tension has been raised to new extremes in Southwest Asia and the nuclear non-proliferation regime has been shaken to its core. Having consistently argued nuclear weapons' inherent inhumanity and called upon the world for their abolition,Hiroshima is outraged at the two states' nuclear tests and fearful that they might provoke a chain reaction of nuclearization.
Contributing to this situation is the fact that the five declared nuclear states have clung to nuclear deterrence theory and made only glacial progress on the nuclear disarmament negotiations mandated under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The leaders of the nuclear states need to focus not on their own narrow national interests but on the future of humanity and need to fulfill their responsibilities to the international community as soon as possible.
The world cries out for new wisdom and new patterns of behavior. In keeping with the spirit of the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, all countries should immediately initiate negotiations on a treaty for the nonuse of nuclear weapons as one step on the road to these weapons' total abolishment.
We implore the government of Japan, the first country to suffer atomic bombing, to take the lead in effectively pressing the nuclear states for the abolition of nuclear weapons. At the same time, I believe it is imperative that all Japanese give serious thought to security policies that are not nuclear-dependent.
Many people throughout the world today still suffer from the aftermath of nuclear tests and other exposure. Their plight, together with Hiroshima's experience, makes the issues we face in this nuclear age explicit. Hiroshimais working to establish and strengthen interpersonal and intercity ties transcending national borders, and we hope that this network can impact international politics to create a nuclear-free world.
Hiroshima has long engaged in grass-roots cultural exchanges, held atomic bomb awareness exhibitions in Japan and overseas, promoted the formation of the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity, and otherwise sought to contribute to marshaling international public opinion in the cause of peace. This spring, we established the Hiroshima Peace Institute and began work on creating a better future for all the world. All of this has been consistent with Hiroshima's desire to be the world's "peace capital".
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person". So states the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet the current nuclear arsenals with their devastating consequences for all humanity compel us, 50 years after the Declaration's adoption, to reconsider our culture's infatuation with science and technology and to renew our commitment to working to create an international community in which the right to life is our highest priority.
On this 53rd Peace Memorial Day, I would like to offer our utmost respects to the souls of those who died from the atomic bombing and to call for compassionate assistance for all hibakusha responsive to their actual situations whether in Japan and overseas.
In closing, I proclaim anew that we are determined to act resolutely in the spirit of renouncing nuclear weapons so that all nations can escape the folly of relying on nuclear force for their security as soon as possible.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 1999 Peace Declaration:
A century of war, the twentieth century spawned the devil's own weapons nuclear weapons and humankind has yet to free itself of their threat.Nonetheless, inspired by the memory of the hundreds of thousands who died so tragically in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all of war's victims, we have fought for the fifty-four years since those bombings for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
It is the many courageous hibakusha and the people who have identified with their spirit who have led this struggle. Looking at the important contributions these hibakusha have made, we cannot but express our deepest gratitude to them.
There are three major contributions:
The first is that they were able to transcend the infernal pain and despair that the bombings sowed and to opt for life. I want young people to remember that today's elderly hibakusha were as young as they are when their families, their schools, and their communities were destroyed in a flash. They hovered between life and death in a corpse-strewn sea of rubble and ruin circumstances under which none would have blamed them had they chosen death. Yet they chose life. We should never forget the will and courage that made it possible for the hibakusha to continue to be human.
Their second accomplishment is that they effectively prevented a third use of nuclear weapons. Whenever conflict and war break out, there are those who advocate nuclear weapon's use. This was true even in Kosovo. Yet the hibakusha's will that the evil not be repeated has prevented the unleashing of this lunacy. Their determination to tell their story to the world, to argue eloquently that to use nuclear weapons is to doom the human race, and to show the use of nuclear weapons to be the ultimate evil has brought about this result. We owe our future and our children's future to them.
Their third achievement lies in their representing the new worldview as engraved on the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims and articulated in the Japanese Constitution. They have rejected the path of revenge and animosity that leads to extinction for all humankind. Instead, they have taken upon themselves not only the evil that Japan as a nation perpetrated but also the evil of war itself. They have also chosen to put their "trust in the justice and faith" of all humankind in order to create a future full of hope. As peace-loving people from all over the world solemnly proclaimed at the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference this May, this is the path that humankind should take in the new century. We ardently applaud all of the countries and people who have written this philosophy into their Constitutions and their laws.
Above all else, we must possess a strong will to abolish nuclear weapons following the examples set by the hibakusha. If all the world shares this commitment indeed, even if only the leaders of the nuclear weapons states will it so nuclear weapons can be eliminated tomorrow.
Such will is born of truth the truth that nuclear weapons are the absolute evil and cause humankind's extinction.
Where there is such will, there is a way. Where there is such determination, any path we take leads to our goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. However, if we lack the will to take the first step, we can never reach our goal no matter how easy the way. I especially hope our young people share this will.
Thus, we again call upon the government of Japan to understand fully the crucial role the hibakusha have played and to enhance their support policies. We also call upon the government to place the highest priority on forging the will to abolish nuclear weapons. It is imperative that the government of Japan follow the philosophy outlined in the preamble of the Constitution to persuade other countries of this course and cement a global commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I declare the abolition of nuclear weapons to be our most important responsibility for the future of the earth, and pay my utmost respect to the souls of the many who perished in the atomic bombings.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2000 Peace Declaration:
Today we are witnessing the last August sixth of the twentieth century.
It has been precisely fifty-five years since one single atomic bomb created a hell on earth. Together with the hibakusha who rose from the depths of despair, we have shed tears of wrenching grief, comforted and encouraged each other, shared indignation and prayers, then studied and healed. Above all, we have appealed to the world through our actions. Our efforts have produced remarkable results in many respects: for example, we passed the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, constructed the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, enacted the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Support Law, created a nuclear-free zone covering most of the Southern hemisphere, won a ruling by the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the use of nuclear weapons, concluded the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, registered the Atomic Bomb Dome as a World Heritage site, and persuaded the nuclear-weapon states to agree to "An unequivocal undertaking...to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals....". Of course, our most striking victory, for all humankind, is that nuclear weapons have not been used in war since Nagasaki. Unfortunately, our most fervent hope, to see nuclear weapons abolished by the end of this century, has not been realized.
We are determined, nevertheless, to overcome all obstacles and attain our goal in the twenty-first century. For this purpose also, it is imperative that we reinterpret the hibakusha experience in a broader context, find ever more effective ways to express its significance, and carry on the legacy as a universal human heritage. Our effort to preserve and utilize the Atomic Bomb Dome, now officially designated a World Heritage site, the former Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch, which withstood the bomb's blast, and the many paper cranes sent by children from all over the world is important in this regard. It is also crucial that we mobilize the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity to translate the ruling that "nuclear weapons are illegal" into their abolition. Furthermore, we will continue to call on individuals everywhere to recognize whatever responsibility their own countries or ethnic groups may bear for war, to do everything in their power to break the chain of hatred and violence, to set out bravely on the road to reconciliation, and to ensure that the world abolishes all nuclear weapons without delay.
Looking back to ancient times - long before there were computers, pencils, or even written language - the twentieth century is distinguished from previous centuries by the fact that our science and technology have created concrete dangers that threaten the very existence of humankind. Nuclear weapons are one such danger. Global environmental degradation is another. They are both problems that we have brought upon ourselves, and both are problems that we must act responsibly to resolve.
Having called on the world to abolish nuclear weapons, Hiroshima wishes to make a new start as a model city demonstrating the use of science and technology for human purposes. We will create a future in which Hiroshima itself is the embodiment of those "human purposes." We will create a twenty-first century in which Hiroshima's very existence formulates the substance of peace. Such a future would exemplify a genuine reconciliation between humankind and the science and technology that have endangered our continued survival.
The north-south summit meeting on the Korean Peninsula was an outstanding example of human reconciliation. Patterned after the exchange of cherry trees and dogwood trees symbolic of Japan-U.S. friendship early in this century, Hiroshima would like, with the cooperation of both Japanese and American citizens, to create its own dogwood promenade symbolic of all such reconciliations. On the international stage, Hiroshima aspires to serve as a mediator actively creating reconciliation by helping to resolve conflict and animosity.
Again we call upon the government of Japan to recognize the crucial role that the hibakusha have played and to further enhance its support policies for them. In addition, we strongly call upon the government to forge the collective will to advocate the abolition of nuclear weapons and make common cause with Hiroshima for global reconciliation in accordance with the preamble to our Constitution.
Gathered here in Hiroshima on the last August sixth of the twentieth century, as our thoughts turn to humanity's past and future, we declare our resolve that, if we had only one pencil we would continue to write first of the sanctity of human life and then of the need to abolish nuclear weapons. Last but certainly not least, we pay our profound respects to the souls of all who perished in the tragedy of Hiroshima.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2001 Peace Declaration:
On the first August sixth of the new century, we, the citizens of Hiroshima, living witnesses to "the century of war", hereby declare that we will do everything in our power to make the twenty-first century one of peace and humanity, free from nuclear weapons.
We believe that humanity means our willingness to listen to the voices of all sentient beings. Humanity also means nurturing children with loving care. It means valuing reconciliation in creating the human family's common future. It means rejecting violence and reaching peaceful agreements through the power of reason and conscience. Only humanity can assure the abolition of nuclear weapons; only humanity can ensure that nuclear weapons, once eliminated, are never re-invented.
In the twenty-first century, Hiroshima intends to soar to new heights as a city of humanity. We intend to create a spiritual home for all people, a home with compassion, a source of creativity and energy for our planet's children and youth, a city offering a personal place of rest and comfort for all, young or old, male and female.
However, the calendar end to "the century of war" has not automatically ushered in a century of peace and humanity. Our world is still darkened not only by the direct violence of local conflicts and civil wars, but also by innumerable other forms of violence including environmental destruction, violence-promoting publications, images, and games. Now, through advanced science and technology, some are trying to extend battlefields into space.
We need our world leaders first to look at this reality humbly and unflinchingly. They must also possess a strong will to eliminate nuclear weapons, sincerity in abiding by their agreements, which are crystallizations of human wisdom, and finally, the courage required to make reconciliation and humanity top priorities.
Many hibakusha and their kindred spirits, feeling called upon to shoulder the fate of the entire human race, have sought the abolition of nuclear weapons and world peace with a will strong enough to cut through solid rock. For hibakusha, the living hell suffered fifty-six years ago remains vivid and present even today. Thus, communicating in living form to coming generations the hibakusha's memories, their sense of responsibility, and their unrelenting will is the most dependable first step toward survival through the twenty-first century and on to the twenty-second century, connected by a bridge of hope.
To that end, the City of Hiroshima is investing in the revitalization of peace education, in the broadest sense of that term. We are striving, in particular, to establish Hiroshima-Nagasaki peace study courses in major universities around the world. The basic framework for such courses will be constructed from the accomplishments of the Hiroshima Peace Institute and similar institutions where academic endeavour based on unalterable fact have brought humankind closer to truth.
This week, the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are hosting the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity. The conference has been organized for the expressed purpose of abolishing nuclear weapons and realizing world peace through truth-guided solidarity among cities, the entities that will carry most prominently the torch of humanity in the twenty-first century. It is no mere fantasy to believe that in the future, member cities of this conference will lead other municipalities in expanding the circle of nuclear-free authorities until ultimately the entire Earth becomes one solid nuclear free zone.
Hiroshima calls on the national government of Japan to play an active role as a mediator in Asia in creating nuclear-free zones and implementing confidence-building measures. We further expect that, as a matter of national policy, Japan will initiate an effort to conclude a global treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons forever. We demand that our government properly value the contributions made by hibakusha, wherever they may live, which should culminate in improved relief measures that respect their rights. Finally, we demand that our national government forge the will to abolish nuclear weapons and, in accordance with the preamble of our constitution, work with Hiroshima in the effort to create a century of peace and humanity.
On this first August sixth of the twenty-first century, it is by vowing to spread the peace of this moment through the entire twenty-first century and throughout the world that we pay our sincerest respects to the souls of all the atomic bomb victims.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2002 Peace Declaration:
Another hot, agonizing summer has arrived for our hibakusha who, fifty-seven years ago, experienced "the end of the world," and, consequently, have worked tirelessly to bring peace to this world because "we cannot allow anyone else to go through that experience."
One reason for their agony, of course, is the annual reliving of that terrible tragedy.
In some ways more painful is the fact that their experience appears to be fading from the collective memory of humankind. Having never experienced an atomic bombing, the vast majority around the world can only vaguely imagine such horror, and these days, John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth are all but forgotten. As predicted by the saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," the probability that nuclear weapons will be used and the danger of nuclear war are increasing.
Since the terrorist attack against the American people on September 11 last year, the danger has become more striking. The path of reconciliation - severing chains of hatred, violence and retaliation - so long advocated by the survivors has been abandoned. Today, the prevailing philosophy seems to be "I'll show you" and "I'm stronger than you are." In Afghanistan and the Middle East, in India and Pakistan, and wherever violent conflict erupts, the victims of this philosophy are overwhelmingly women, children, the elderly, and those least able to defend themselves.
President Kennedy said, "World peace...does not require that each man love his neighbor--it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance ..." Within this framework of tolerance, we must all begin cooperating in any small way possible to build a common, brighter future for the human family. This is the meaning of reconciliation.
The spirit of reconciliation is not concerned with judging the past. Rather, it open-mindedly accepts human error and works toward preventing such errors in the future. To that end, conscientious exploration and understanding of the past is vital, which is precisely why we are working to establish the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course in colleges and universities around the world.
In the "spiritual home for all people" that Hiroshima is building grows an abundant Forest of Memory, and the River of Reconciliation and Humanity flowing from that forest is plied by Reason, Conscience and Compassion, ships that ultimately sail to the Sea of Hope and the Future.
I strongly urge President Bush to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to walk through that forest and ride that river. I beg him to encounter this human legacy and confirm with his own eyes what nuclear weapons hold in store for us all.
The United States government has no right to force Pax Americana on the rest of us, or to unilaterally determine the fate of the world. On the contrary, we, the people of the world, have the right to demand "no annihilation without representation."
Article 99 of the Japanese Constitution stipulates that "The Emperor or the Regent as well as Ministers of State, members of the Diet, judges, and all other public officials have the obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution." The proper role of the Japanese government, under this provision, is to avoid making Japan a "normal country" capable of making war "like all the other nations." The government is bound to reject nuclear weapons absolutely and to renounce war. Furthermore, the national government has a responsibility to convey the memories, voices, and prayers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki throughout the world, especially to the United States, and, for the sake of tomorrow's children, to prevent war.
The first step is to listen humbly to the hibakusha of the world. Assistance to all hibakusha, in particular to those dwelling overseas, must be enhanced to allow them to continue, in full security, to communicate their message of peace.
Today, in recalling the events of 57 years ago, we, the people of Hiroshima, honor this collective human memory, vow to do our utmost to create a "century of peace and humanity," and offer our sincere prayers for the peaceful repose of all the atomic bomb victims.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2003 Peace Declaration:
This year again, summer's heat reminds us of the blazing hell fire that swept over this very spot fifty-eight years ago. The world without nuclear weapons and beyond war that our hibakusha have sought for so long appears to be slipping deeper into a thick cover of dark clouds that they fear at any minute could become mushroom clouds spilling black rain.
The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse. The chief cause is U.S. nuclear policy that, by openly declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear first strike and calling for resumed research into mini-nukes and other so-called "useable nuclear weapons", appears to worship nuclear weapons as God.
However, nuclear weapons are not the only problem. Acting as if the United Nations Charter and the Japanese Constitution don't even exist, the world has suddenly veered sharply away from post-war toward pre-war mentality. As the U.S.-U.K.- led war on Iraq made clear, the assertion that war is peace is being trumpeted as truth. Conducted with disregard for the multitudes around the world demanding a peaceful solution through continued UN inspections, this war slaughtered innocent women, children, and the elderly. It destroyed the environment, most notably through radioactive contamination that will be with us for billions of years. And the weapons of mass destruction that served as the excuse for the war have yet to be found.
However, as President Lincoln once said, "You can't fool all the people all the time". Now is the time for us to focus once again on the truth that "Darkness can never be dispelled by darkness, only by light". The rule of power is darkness. The rule of law is light. In the darkness of retaliation, the proper path for human civilization is illumined by the spirit of reconciliation born of the hibakusha's determination that "no one else should ever suffer as we did".
Lifting up that light, the aging hibakusha are calling for U.S. President George Bush to visit Hiroshima. We all support that call and hereby demand that President Bush, Chairman Kim Jong Il of North Korea, and the leaders of all nuclear-weapon states come to Hiroshima and confront the reality of nuclear war. We must somehow convey to them that nuclear weapons are utterly evil, inhumane and illegal under international law. In the meanwhile, we expect that the facts about Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be shared throughout the world, and that the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course will be established in ever more colleges and universities.
To strengthen the NPT regime, the city of Hiroshima is calling on all members of the World Conference of Mayors for Peace to take emergency action to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons. Our goal is to gather a strong delegation of mayors representing cities throughout the world to participate in the NPT Review Conference that will take place in New York in 2005, the 60th year after the atomic bombing. In New York, we will lobby national delegates for the start of negotiations at the United Nations on a universal Nuclear Weapons Convention providing for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
At the same time, Hiroshima calls on politicians, religious professionals, academics, writers, journalists, teachers, artists, athletes and other leaders with influence. We must establish a climate that immediately confronts even casual comments that appear to approve of nuclear weapons or war. To prevent war and to abolish the absolute evil of nuclear weapons, we must pray, speak, and act to that effect in our daily lives.
The Japanese government, which publicly asserts its status as "the only A-bombed nation", must fulfill the responsibilities that accompany that status, both at home and abroad. Specifically, it must adopt as national precepts the three new non-nuclear principles - allow no production, allow no possession, and allow no use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world - and work conscientiously toward an Asian nuclear-free zone. It must also provide full support to all hibakusha everywhere, including those exposed in "black rain areas" and those who live overseas.
On this 58th August 6, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the souls of all atomic bomb victims, and we renew our pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and eliminate war altogether by the time we turn this world over to our children.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2004 Peace Declaration:
"Nothing will grow for 75 years." Fifty-nine years have passed since the August sixth when Hiroshima was so thoroughly obliterated that many succumbed to such doom. Dozens of corpses still bearing the agony of that day, souls torn abruptly from their loved ones and their hopes for the future, have recently re-surfaced on Ninoshima Island, warning us to beware the utter inhumanity of the atomic bombing and the gruesome horror of war.
Unfortunately, the human race still lacks both a lexicon capable of fully expressing that disaster and sufficient imagination to fill the gap. Thus, most of us float idly in the current of the day, clouding with self-indulgence the lens of reason through which we should be studying the future, blithely turning our backs on the courageous few.
As a result, the egocentric worldview of the U.S. government is reaching extremes. Ignoring the United Nations and its foundation of international law, the U.S. has resumed research to make nuclear weapons smaller and more "usable." Elsewhere, the chains of violence and retaliation know no end: reliance on violence-amplifying terror and North Korea, among others, buying into the worthless policy of "nuclear insurance" are salient symbols of our times.
We must perceive and tackle this human crisis within the context of human history. In the year leading up to the 60th anniversary, which begins a new cycle of rhythms in the interwoven fabric that binds humankind and nature, we must return to our point of departure, the unprecedented A-bomb experience. In the coming year, we must sow the seeds of new hope and cultivate a strong future-oriented movement.
To that end, the city of Hiroshima, along with the Mayors for Peace and our 611 member cities in 109 countries and regions, hereby declares the period beginning today and lasting until August 9, 2005, to be a Year of Remembrance and Action for a Nuclear-Free World. Our goal is to bring forth a beautiful "flower" for the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings, namely, the total elimination of all nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth by the year 2020. Only then will we have truly resurrected hope for life on this "nothing will grow" planet.
The seeds we sow today will sprout in May 2005. At the Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be held in New York, the Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons will bring together cities, citizens, and NGOs from around the world to work with like-minded nations toward adoption of an action program that incorporates, as an interim goal, the signing in 2010 of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to serve as the framework for eliminating nuclear weapons by 2020.
Around the world, this Emergency Campaign is generating waves of support. This past February, the European Parliament passed by overwhelming majority a resolution specifically supporting the Mayors for Peace campaign. At its general assembly in June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, representing 1183 U.S. cities, passed by acclamation an even stronger resolution.
We anticipate that Americans, a people of conscience, will follow the lead of their mayors and form the mainstream of support for the Emergency Campaign as an expression of their love for humanity and desire to discharge their duty as the lone superpower to eliminate nuclear weapons.
We are striving to communicate the message of the hibakusha around the world and promote the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course to ensure, especially, that future generations will understand the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and the cruelty of war. In addition, during the coming year, we will implement a project that will mobilize adults to read eyewitness accounts of the atomic bombings to children everywhere.
The Japanese government, as our representative, should defend the Peace Constitution, of which all Japanese should be proud, and work diligently to rectify the trend toward open acceptance of war and nuclear weapons increasingly prevalent at home and abroad. We demand that our government act on its obligation as the only A-bombed nation and become the world leader for nuclear weapons abolition, generating an anti-nuclear tsunami by fully and enthusiastically supporting the Emergency Campaign led by the Mayors for Peace. We further demand more generous relief measures to meet the needs of our aging hibakusha, including those living overseas and those exposed in black rain areas.
Rekindling the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we pledge to do everything in our power during the coming year to ensure that the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings will see a budding of hope for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. We humbly offer this pledge for the peaceful repose of all atomic bomb victims.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2005 Peace Declaration:
This August 6, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, is a moment of shared lamentation in which more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims and those who remain behind transcend the boundary between life and death to remember that day. It is also a time of inheritance, of awakening, and of commitment, in which we inherit the commitment of the hibakusha to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, awaken to our individual responsibilities, and recommit ourselves to take action. This new commitment, building on the desires of all war victims and the millions around the world who are sharing this moment, is creating a harmony that is enveloping our planet.
The keynote of this harmony is the hibakusha warning, "No one else should ever suffer as we did," along with the cornerstone of all religions and bodies of law, "Thou shalt not kill." Our sacred obligation to future generations is to establish this axiom, especially its corollary, "Thou shalt not kill children," as the highest priority for the human race across all nations and religions. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion issued nine years ago was a vital step toward fulfilling this obligation, and the Japanese Constitution, which embodies this axiom forever as the sovereign will of a nation, should be a guiding light for the world in the 21st century.
Unfortunately, the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty this past May left no doubt that the U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and a few other nations wishing to become nuclear-weapon states are ignoring the majority voices of the people and governments of the world, thereby jeopardizing human survival.
Based on the dogma "Might is right," these countries have formed their own "nuclear club," the admission requirement being possession of nuclear weapons. Through the media, they have long repeated the incantation, "Nuclear weapons protect you." With no means of rebuttal, many people worldwide have succumbed to the feeling that "There is nothing we can do." Within the United Nations, nuclear club members use their veto power to override the global majority and pursue their selfish objectives.
To break out of this situation, Mayors for Peace, with more than 1,080 member cities, is currently holding its sixth General Conference in Hiroshima, where we are revising the Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons launched two years ago. The primary objective is to produce an action plan that will further expand the circle of cooperation formed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the European Parliament, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other international NGOs, organizations and individuals worldwide, and will encourage all world citizens to awaken to their own responsibilities with a sense of urgency, "as if the entire world rests on their shoulders alone," and work with new commitment to abolish nuclear weapons.
To these ends and to ensure that the will of the majority is reflected at the UN, we propose that the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which will meet in October, establish a special committee to deliberate and plan for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Such a committee is needed because the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the NPT Review Conference in New York have failed due to a "consensus rule" that gives a veto to every country.
We expect that the General Assembly will then act on the recommendations from this special committee, adopting by the year 2010 specific steps leading toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020.
Meanwhile, we hereby declare the 369 days from today until August 9, 2006, a "Year of Inheritance, Awakening and Commitment." During this Year, the Mayors for Peace, working with nations, NGOs and the vast majority of the world's people, will launch a great diversity of campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition in numerous cities throughout the world.
We expect the Japanese government to respect the voice of the world's cities and work energetically in the First Committee and the General Assembly to ensure that the abolition of nuclear weapons is achieved by the will of the majority. Furthermore, we request that the Japanese government provide the warm, humanitarian support appropriate to the needs of all the aging hibakusha, including those living abroad and those exposed in areas affected by the black rain.
On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombing, we seek to comfort the souls of all its victims by declaring that we humbly reaffirm our responsibility never to "repeat the evil."
"Please rest peacefully; for we will not repeat the evil."
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2006 Peace Declaration:
Radiation, heat, blast and their synergetic effects created a hell on Earth. Sixty-one years later, the number of nations enamored of evil and enslaved by nuclear weapons is increasing. The human family stands at a crossroads. Will all nations be enslaved? Or will all nations be liberated? This choice poses another question. Is it acceptable for cities, and especially the innocent children who live in them, to be targeted by nuclear weapons?
The answer is crystal clear, and the past sixty-one years have shown us the path to liberation.
From a hell in which no one could have blamed them for choosing death, the hibakusha set forth toward life and the future. Living with injuries and illnesses eating away at body and mind, they have spoken persistently about their experiences. Refusing to bow before discrimination, slander, and scorn, they have warned continuously that "no one else should ever suffer as we did." Their voices, picked up by people of conscience the world over, are becoming a powerful mass chorus.
The keynote is, "The only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished." And yet, the world's political leaders continue to ignore these voices. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion handed down ten years ago, born of the creative action of global civil society, should have been a highly effective tool for enlightening and guiding them toward the truth.
The Court found that "… the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law," and went on to declare, "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."
If the nuclear-weapon states had taken the lead and sought in good faith to fulfill this obligation, nuclear weapons would have been abolished already. Unfortunately, during the past ten years, most nations and most people have failed to confront this obligation head-on. Regretting that we have not done more, the City of Hiroshima, along with Mayors for Peace, whose member cities have increased to 1,403, is launching Phase II of our 2020 Vision Campaign. This phase includes the Good Faith Challenge, a campaign to promote the good-faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament called for in the ICJ advisory opinion, and a Cities Are Not Targets project demanding that nuclear-weapon states stop targeting cities for nuclear attack.
Nuclear weapons are illegal, immoral weapons designed to obliterate cities. Our goals are to reveal the delusions behind "nuclear deterrence theory" and the "nuclear umbrella," which hold cities hostage, and to protect, from a legal and moral standpoint, our citizens' right to life.
Taking the lead in this effort is the US Conference of Mayors, representing 1,139 American cities. At its national meeting this past June, the USCM adopted a resolution demanding that all nuclear-weapon states, including the United States, immediately cease all targeting of cities with nuclear weapons.
Cities and citizens of the world have a duty to release the lost sheep from the spell and liberate the world from nuclear weapons. The time has come for all of us to awaken and arise with a will that can penetrate rock and a passion that burns like fire.
I call on the Japanese government to advocate for the hibakusha and all citizens by conducting a global campaign that will forcefully insist that the nuclear-weapon states "negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament." To that end, I demand that the government respect the Peace Constitution of which we should be proud. I further request more generous, people-oriented assistance appropriate to the actual situations of the aging hibakusha, including those living overseas and those exposed in "black rain areas."
To console the many victims whose names remain unknown, this year for the first time we added the words, "Many Unknown" to the ledger of victims' names placed in the cenotaph. We humbly pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of all atomic bomb victims and a future of peace and harmony for the human family.
2006 Nagasaki Peace Declaration by Iccho Itoh († 2007):
At the close of the 61st year following the atomic bombings, voices of anger and frustration are echoing throughout the city of Nagasaki.
At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, a single atomic bomb destroyed our city, instantly claiming the lives of 74,000 people and injuring 75,000 more. People were burned by the intense heat rays and flung through the air by the horrific blast winds. Their bodies bathed in mordant radiation, many of the survivors continue to suffer from the after-effects even today. How can we ever forget the anguished cries of those whose lives and dreams were so cruelly taken from them?
And yet, some 30,000 nuclear weapons stand ready nonetheless to annihilate humanity.
A decade ago, the International Court of Justice stated that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law, strongly encouraging international society to strive for the elimination of nuclear armaments. Six years ago at the United Nations, the nuclear weapon states committed themselves not merely to prevent proliferation, but to an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
Nuclear weapons are instruments of indiscriminate genocide, and their elimination is a task that mankind must realize without fail.
Last year, the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to which 189 countries are signatories, ended without result, and no progress has been observed since.
The nuclear weapon states have not demonstrated sincerity in their efforts at disarmament; the United States of America in particular has issued tacit approval of nuclear weapons development by India, and is moving forward with the construction of cooperative arrangements for nuclear technology. At the same time, nuclear weapon declarant North Korea is threatening the peace and security of Japan and the world as a whole. In fact, the very structure of non-proliferation is facing a crisis due to nuclear ambitions by various nations including Pakistan, which has announced its possession of nuclear arms; Israel, which is widely considered to possess them; and Iran.
The time has come for those nations that rely on the force of nuclear armaments to respectfully heed the voices of peace-loving people, not least the atomic bomb survivors, to strive in good faith for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and to advance towards the complete abolishment of all such weapons.
It must also be said that nuclear weapons cannot be developed without the cooperation of scientists. We would urge scientists to realize their responsibility for the destiny of all mankind, not just for their own particular countries, and to abandon the development of nuclear arms.
Once again we call upon the Japanese government, representing as it does a nation that has experienced nuclear devastation firsthand, to ground itself in reflection upon history, uphold the peaceful intentions of the constitution, enact into the law the three non-nuclear principles, and work for establishment of a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, that the tragedy of war may not occur again. We also urge the Japanese government to provide greater assistance to aging atomic bomb survivors, both within Japan and overseas.
For 61 years, the hibakusha atomic bomb survivors have recounted their tragic experiences to succeeding generations. Many have chosen not to hide the keloid scars on their skin, continuing to tell of things that they might rather not remember. Their efforts are indeed a starting point for peace. Their voices reverberate around the world, calling for the deepest compassion of those who are working to ensure that Nagasaki is the last place on our planet to have suffered nuclear destruction.
The 3rd Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons will be held in October of this year. We invite people working for peace to span generations and national boundaries, and gather together to communicate. Let us firmly join hands and foster an even stronger network for nuclear abolition and peace, extending from Nagasaki throughout the world.
We remain confident that the empathy and solidarity of all those who inherit the hopes of the hibakusha atomic bomb survivors will become an even more potent force, one that will surely serve to realize a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.
In closing, we pray for the undisturbed repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in such misery, we resolve that 2006 should be a new year of departure, and we proclaim our commitment to continue to strive for the establishment of lasting world peace.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2007 Peace Declaration:
That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast - silence - hell on Earth.
The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies-Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.
Within the year, 140,000 had died. Many who escaped death initially are still suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a vast array of other afflictions.
But there was more. Sneered at for their keloid scars, discriminated against in employment and marriage, unable to find understanding for profound emotional wounds, survivors suffered and struggled day after day, questioning the meaning of life.
And yet, the message born of that agony is a beam of light now shining the way for the human family. To ensure that “no one else ever suffers as we did,” the hibakusha have continuously spoken of experiences they would rather forget, and we must never forget their accomplishments in preventing a third use of nuclear weapons.
Despite their best efforts, vast arsenals of nuclear weapons remain in high states of readiness-deployed or easily available. Proliferation is gaining momentum, and the human family still faces the peril of extinction. This is because a handful of old-fashioned leaders, clinging to an early 20th century worldview in thrall to the rule of brute strength, are rejecting global democracy, turning their backs on the reality of the atomic bombings and the message of the hibakusha.
However, here in the 21st century the time has come when these problems can actually be solved through the power of the people. Former colonies have become independent. Democratic governments have taken root. Learning the lessons of history, people have created international rules prohibiting attacks on non-combatants and the use of inhumane weapons. They have worked hard to make the United Nations an instrument for the resolution of international disputes. And now city governments, entities that have always walked with and shared in the tragedy and pain of their citizens, are rising up. In the light of human wisdom, they are leveraging the voices of their citizens to lift international politics.
Because “Cities suffer most from war,” Mayors for Peace, with 1,698 city members around the world, is actively campaigning to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.
In Hiroshima, we are continuing our effort to communicate the A-bomb experience by holding A-bomb exhibitions in 101 cities in the US and facilitating establishment of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Courses in universities around the world. American mayors have taken the lead in our Cities Are Not Targets project. Mayors in the Czech Republic are opposing the deployment of a missile defense system. The mayor of Guernica-Lumo is calling for a resurgence of morality in international politics. The mayor of Ypres is providing an international secretariat for Mayors for Peace, while other Belgian mayors are contributing funds, and many more mayors around the world are working with their citizens on pioneering initiatives. In October this year, at the World Congress of United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of our planet’s population, cities will express the will of humanity as we call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The government of Japan, the world’s only A-bombed nation, is duty-bound to humbly learn the philosophy of the hibakusha along with the facts of the atomic bombings and to spread this knowledge through the world. At the same time, to abide by international law and fulfill its good-faith obligation to press for nuclear weapons abolition, the Japanese government should take pride in and protect, as is, the Peace Constitution, while clearly saying “No,” to obsolete and mistaken US policies. We further demand, on behalf of the hibakusha whose average age now exceeds 74, improved and appropriate assistance, to be extended also to those living overseas or exposed in “black rain areas.”
Sixty-two years after the atomic bombing, we offer today our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of all its victims and of Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki shot down on his way toward nuclear weapons abolition. Let us pledge here and now to take all actions required to bequeath to future generations a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2008 Peace Declaration:
Another August 6, and the horrors of 63 years ago arise undiminished in the minds of our hibakusha, whose average age now exceeds 75. "Water, please!" "Help me!" "Mommy!"? On this day, we, too, etch in our hearts the voices, faces and forms that vanished in the hell no hibakusha can ever forget, renewing our determination that "No one else should ever suffer as we did."
Because the effects of that atomic bomb, still eating away at the minds and bodies of the hibakusha, have for decades been so underestimated, a complete picture of the damage has yet to emerge. Most severely neglected have been the emotional injuries. Therefore, the city of Hiroshima is initiating a two-year scientific exploration of the psychological impact of the A-bomb experience.
This study should teach us the grave import of the truth, born of tragedy and suffering, that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."
This truth received strong support from a report compiled last November by the city of Hiroshima. Scientists and other nuclear-related experts exploring the damage from a postulated nuclear attack found once again that only way to protect citizens from such an attack is the total abolition of nuclear weapons. This is precisely why the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion state clearly that all nations are obligated to engage in good-faith negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, even leaders previously central to creating and implementing US nuclear policy are now repeatedly demanding a world without nuclear weapons.
We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth''s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan's UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the president of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival.
To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2,368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This Protocol calls for an immediate halt to all efforts, including by nuclear-weapon states, to obtain or deploy nuclear weapons, with a legal ban on all acquisition or use to follow by 2015. Thus, it draws a concrete road map to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Now, with our destination and the map to that destination clear, all we need is the strong will and capacity to act to guard the future for our children.
World citizens and like-minded nations have achieved treaties banning anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Meanwhile, the most effective measures against global warming are coming from cities. Citizens cooperating at the city level can solve the problems of the human family because cities are home to the majority of the world’s population, cities do not have militaries, and cities have built genuine partnerships around the world based on mutual understanding and trust.
The Japanese Constitution is an appropriate point of departure for a "paradigm shift" toward modeling the world on intercity relationships. I hereby call on the Japanese government to fiercely defend our Constitution, press all governments to adopt the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and play a leading role in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. I further request greater generosity in designating A-bomb illnesses and in relief measures appropriate to the current situations of our aging hibakusha, including those exposed in “black rain areas” and those living overseas.
Next month the G8 Speakers' Meeting will, for the first time, take place in Japan. I fervently hope that Hiroshima's hosting of this meeting will help our "hibakusha philosophy" spread throughout the world.
Now, on the occasion of this 63rd anniversary Peace Memorial Ceremony, we offer our heartfelt lamentations for the souls of the atomic bomb victims and, in concert with the city of Nagasaki and with citizens around the world, pledge to do everything in our power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons.
US President Obama's speech, held April 5, 2009 in Prague:
Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Prague. And thank you to the people of the Czech Republic. Today, I am proud to stand here with you in the middle of this great city, in the center of Europe. And - to paraphrase one my predecessors - I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague.
I have learned over many years to appreciate the good company and good humor of the Czech people in my hometown of Chicago. Behind me is a statue of a hero of the Czech people - Tomas Masaryk. In 1918, after America had pledged its support for Czech independence, Masaryk spoke to a crowd in Chicago that was estimated to be over 100,000. I don't think I can match Masaryk's record, but I'm honored to follow his footsteps from Chicago to Prague.
For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any other city in any other place. You have known war and peace. You have seen empires rise and fall. You have led revolutions in the arts and science, in politics and poetry. Through it all, the people of Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their own destiny. And this city - this Golden City which is both ancient and youthful - stands as a living monument to your unconquerable spirit.
When I was born, the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President. Few people would have predicted that an American President would one day be permitted to speak to an audience like this in Prague. And few would have imagined that the Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, and a leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as dreams.
We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change.
We are here today because of the courage of those who stood up - and took risks - to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like.
We are here today because of the Prague Spring - because the simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the will of the people.
We are here today because twenty years ago, the people of this city took to the streets to claim the promise of a new day, and the fundamental human rights that had been denied to them for far too long. Sametová revoluce - the Velvet Revolution taught us many things. It showed us that peaceful protest could shake the foundation of an empire, and expose the emptiness of an ideology. It showed us that small countries can play a pivotal role in world events, and that young people can lead the way in overcoming old conflicts. And it proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.
That is why I am speaking to you in the center of a Europe that is peaceful, united and free - because ordinary people believed that divisions could be bridged; that walls could come down; and that peace could prevail.
We are here today because Americans and Czechs believed against all odds that today could be possible.
We share this common history. But now this generation - our generation - cannot stand still. We, too, have a choice to make. As the world has become less divided it has become more inter-connected. And we have seen events move faster than our ability to control them - a global economy in crisis; a changing climate; the persistent dangers of old conflicts, new threats and the spread of catastrophic weapons.
None of these challenges can be solved quickly or easily. But all of them demand that we listen to one another and work together; that we focus on our common interests, not our occasional differences; and that we reaffirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart. That is the work that we must carry on. That is the work that I have come to Europe to begin.
To renew our prosperity, we need action coordinated across borders. That means investments to create new jobs. That means resisting the walls of protectionism that stand in the way of growth. That means a change in our financial system, with new rules to prevent abuse and future crisis. And we have an obligation to our common prosperity and our common humanity to extend a hand to those emerging markets and impoverished people who are suffering the most, which is why we set aside over a trillion dollars for the International Monetary Fund earlier this week.
To protect our planet, now is the time to change the way that we use energy. Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels, tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part. And I pledge to you that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead.
To provide for our common security, we must strengthen our alliance. NATO was founded sixty years ago, after Communism took over Czechoslovakia. That was when the free world learned too late that it could not afford division. So we came together to forge the strongest alliance that the world has ever known. And we stood shoulder to shoulder - year after year, decade after decade - until an Iron Curtain was lifted, and freedom spread like flowing water.
This marks the tenth year of NATO membership for the Czech Republic. I know that many times in the 20th century, decisions were made without you at the table. Great powers let you down, or determined your destiny without your voice being heard. I am here to say that the United States will never turn its back on the people of this nation. We are bound by shared values, shared history, and the enduring promise of our alliance. NATO's Article 5 states it clearly: an attack on one is an attack on all. That is a promise for our time, and for all time.
The people of the Czech Republic kept that promise after America was attacked, thousands were killed on our soil, and NATO responded. NATO's mission in Afghanistan is fundamental to the safety of people on both sides of the Atlantic. We are targeting the same al Qaeda terrorists who have struck from New York to London, and helping the Afghan people take responsibility for their future. We are demonstrating that free nations can make common cause on behalf of our common security. And I want you to know that we Americans honor the sacrifices of the Czech people in this endeavor, and mourn the loss of those you have lost.
No alliance can afford to stand still. We must work together as NATO members so that we have contingency plans in place to deal with new threats, wherever they may come from. We must strengthen our cooperation with one another, and with other nations and institutions around the world, to confront dangers that recognize no borders. And we must pursue constructive relations with Russia on issues of common concern.
One of those issues that I will focus on today is fundamental to our nations, and to the peace and security of the world - the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.
The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that had existed for centuries would have ceased to exist.
Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and materials. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point when the center cannot hold.
This matters to all people, everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city - be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague - could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences may be - for our global safety, security, society, economy, and ultimately our survival.
Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked - that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. This fatalism is a deadly adversary. For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.
Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st. And as a nuclear power - as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon - the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it.
So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. This goal will not be reached quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change.
First, the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.
To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: as long as these weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies - including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.
To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia this year. President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding, and sufficiently bold. This will set the stage for further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.
To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my Administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.
And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons grade materials that create them.
Second, together, we will strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation.
The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy. To strengthen the Treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the Treaty without cause.
And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. No approach will succeed if it is based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules. We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance opportunity for all people.
We go forward with no illusions. Some will break the rules, but that is why we need a structure in place that ensures that when any nation does, they will face consequences. This morning, we were reminded again why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat. North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long range missile.
This provocation underscores the need for action - not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons. Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response. North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. And all nations must come together to build a stronger, global regime.
Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon. And my Administration will seek engagement with Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, and we will present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically. We will support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections. That is a path that the Islamic Republic can take. Or the government can choose increased isolation, international pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will increase insecurity for all.
Let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we intend to go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe at this time will be removed.
Finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon.
This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with a nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said that it seeks a bomb. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.
Today, I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, and pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.
We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. Because this threat will be lasting, we should come together to turn efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international institutions. And we should start by having a Global Summit on Nuclear Security that the United States will host within the next year.
I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true international cooperation is possible, given the inevitable differences among nations. And there are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it is worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve.
But make no mistake: we know where that road leads. When nations and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy and cowardly thing. That is how wars begin. That is where human progress ends.
There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart, but by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together.
Those are the voices that still echo through the streets of Prague. Those are the ghosts of 1968. Those were the joyful sounds of the Velvet Revolution. Those were the Czechs who helped bring down a nuclear-armed empire without firing a shot.
Human destiny will be what we make of it. Here, in Prague, let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, and accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. Thank you.
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba's 2009 Peace Declaration:
That weapon of human extinction, the atomic bomb, was dropped on the people of Hiroshima sixty-four years ago. Yet the hibakusha's suffering, a hell no words can convey, continues. Radiation absorbed 64 years earlier continues to eat at their bodies, and memories of 64 years ago flash back as if they had happened yesterday.
Fortunately, the grave implications of the hibakusha experience are granted legal support. A good example of this support is the courageous court decision humbly accepting the fact that the effects of radiation on the human body have yet to be fully elucidated. The Japanese national government should make its assistance measures fully appropriate to the situations of the aging hibakusha, including those exposed in "black rain areas" and those living overseas. Then, tearing down the walls between its ministries and agencies, it should lead the world as standard-bearer for the movement to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 to actualize the fervent desire of hibakusha that "No one else should ever suffer as we did."
In April this year, US President Obama speaking in Prague said, "...as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act." And "...take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons." Nuclear weapons abolition is the will not only of the hibakusha but also of the vast majority of people and nations on this planet. The fact that President Obama is listening to those voices has solidified our conviction that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."
In response, we support President Obama and have a moral responsibility to act to abolish nuclear weapons. To emphasize this point, we refer to ourselves, the great global majority, as the "Obamajority," and we call on the rest of the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. The essence of this idea is embodied in the Japanese Constitution, which is ever more highly esteemed around the world.
Now, with more than 3,000 member cities worldwide, Mayors for Peace has given concrete substance to our "2020 Vision" through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and we are doing everything in our power to promote its adoption at the NPT Review Conference next year. Once the Protocol is adopted, our scenario calls for an immediate halt to all efforts to acquire or deploy nuclear weapons by all countries, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which has so recently conducted defiant nuclear tests; visits by leaders of nuclear-weapon states and suspect states to the A-bombed cities; early convening of a UN Special Session devoted to Disarmament; an immediate start to negotiations with the goal of concluding a nuclear weapons convention by 2015; and finally, to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. We will adopt a more detailed plan at the Mayors for Peace General Conference that begins tomorrow in Nagasaki.
The year 2020 is important because we wish to enter a world without nuclear weapons with as many hibakusha as possible. Furthermore, if our generation fails to eliminate nuclear weapons, we will have failed to fulfill our minimum responsibility to those that follow.
Global Zero, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and others of influence throughout the world have initiated positive programs that seek the abolition of nuclear weapons. We sincerely hope that they will all join the circle of those pressing for 2020.
As seen in the anti-personnel landmine ban, liberation from poverty through the Grameen Bank, the prevention of global warming and other such movements, global democracy that respects the majority will of the world and solves problems through the power of the people has truly begun to grow. To nurture this growth and go on to solve other major problems, we must create a mechanism by which the voices of the people can be delivered directly into the UN. One idea would be to create a "Lower House" of the United Nations made up of 100 cities that have suffered major tragedies due to war and other disasters, plus another 100 cities with large populations, totaling 200 cities. The current UN General Assembly would then become the "Upper House."
On the occasion of the Peace Memorial Ceremony commemorating the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing, we offer our solemn, heartfelt condolence to the souls of the A-bomb victims, and, together with the city of Nagasaki and the majority of Earth's people and nations, we pledge to strive with all our strength for a world free from nuclear weapons.
We have the power. We have the responsibility. And we are the Obamajority. Together, we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes, we can.
2009 Nagasaki Peace Declaration by Tomihisa Taue:
We, as human beings, now have two paths before us.
While one can lead us to a world without nuclear weapons, the other will carry us toward annihilation, bringing us to suffer once again the destruction experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago.
This April, in Prague, the Czech Republic, U.S. President Barack Obama clearly stated that the United States of America will seek a world without nuclear weapons. The President described concrete steps, such as the resumption of negotiations on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russians, pursuit of the U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosions in the air, the sea, underground and in outer space, and seeking to conclude a treaty to ban the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, both essential components of nuclear weapons. The President demonstrated strong determination by saying that as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act, which profoundly moved people in Nagasaki, a city that has suffered the horror of atomic bombing.
President Obama's speech was a watershed event, in that the U.S., a superpower possessing nuclear weapons, finally took a step towards the elimination of nuclear armaments.
Nevertheless, this May, North Korea conducted its second nuclear test, in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution. As long as the world continues to rely on nuclear deterrence and nuclear weapons continue to exist, the possibility always exists that dangerous nations, like North Korea, and terrorists will emerge. International society must absolutely make North Korea destroy its nuclear arsenal, and the five nuclear-weapon states must also reduce their nuclear weapons. In addition to the U.S. and Russia, the U.K., France and China must sincerely fulfill their responsibility to reduce nuclear arms under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In a bid for thorough elimination of nuclear armaments, we urge the strongest efforts towards the Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), which the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last year called on governments to negotiate actively. It is necessary to insist that not only India, Pakistan and North Korea, but also Israel, a nation widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, and Iran, a nation suspected of nuclear development, should participate in the convention in order to ensure that those nations totally eliminate their nuclear weapons.
Supporting the speech delivered in Prague, the Government of Japan, a nation that has experienced nuclear devastation, must play a leading role in international society. Moreover, the government must globally disseminate the ideals of peace and renunciation of war prescribed in the Japanese Constitution. The government must also embark on measures to establish a firm position on the Three Non-Nuclear Principles by enacting them into law, and to create a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, incorporating North Korea.
We strongly urge U.S. President Obama, Russia's President Medvedev, U.K. Prime Minister Brown, France's President Sarkozy and China's President Hu Jintao, as well as India's Prime Minister Singh, Pakistan's President Zardari, North Korea's General Secretary Kim Jong-il, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and Iran's President Ahmadinejad, and all the other world's leaders, as follows.
Visit Nagasaki, a city that suffered nuclear destruction.
Visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and stand at the site of nuclear devastation, where the bones of numerous victims are still interred. On August 9, 1945 at 11:02 a.m., Nagasaki was devastated by intense radiation, heat rays of several thousand degrees Centigrade and horrific blast winds. Fierce fires destroyed Nagasaki, turning the city into a silent ruin. While 74,000 dead victims screamed silently, 75,000 injured people moaned. Everybody who visits is sure to be overwhelmed with the anguish of those who died in this atomic bombing.
You will see those who managed to survive the atomic bombing. You will hear the voices of elderly victims, who try to tell the story of their experiences even as they continue to suffer from the after-effects. You will be stimulated by the passion of young people, who carry out their activities in the belief that although they did not share the experience of the atomic bombing, they can share the awareness that strives for the elimination of nuclear armaments.
Now, in Nagasaki, the General Conference of Mayors for Peace is being held. In February next year, the Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons will be held, attended by NGOs from both within Japan and overseas. For the next year's NPT Review Conference, citizens, NGOs and cities strive to strengthen their unity.
People in Nagasaki are circulating petitions calling for President Obama to visit Nagasaki, a city that experienced atomic bombing. Each of us plays a vital role in creating history. We must never leave this responsibility only to leaders or governments.
We ask the people of the world, now, in each place, in each of your lives, to initiate efforts to declare support for the Prague speech and take steps together towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Some 64 years have passed since the atomic bombing. The remaining survivors are growing old. We call once again for the Japanese government, from the perspective of the provision of relief for atomic bomb survivors, to hasten to offer them support that corresponds with their reality.
We pray from our hearts for the repose of the souls of those who died in the atomic bombing, and pledge our commitment to the elimination of nuclear armaments.