Three high school peace ambassadors from Hiroshima pledge to convey peace message to entire world

by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer

Three high school students from Hiroshima Prefecture have been selected as this school year’s high school ambassadors, designated in their call for the elimination of nuclear weapons inside and outside Japan. They held a press conference at Hiroshima City Hall on July 31. It has been decided they cannot deliver people’s signatures to the United Nations Office at Geneva due to the novel corona virus pandemic, but they pledged they would convey their desires for peace through such activities as a signature collecting campaign.

They are all 16 and second-year high school students: Kosei Kusunoki of Shudo High School, Yurina Yunoki of the high school attached to Hiroshima University and Momoe Kajiwara of Fukuyama High School. The students live in Higashi Ward, Asaminami Ward and the city of Fukuyama, respectively. They will collect signatures in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park from 11:00 a.m. on August 10. A total of 28 high school peace ambassadors from 16 prefectures will attend a team-forming ceremony in Hiroshima in early September.

Mr. Kusunoki’s late grandfather was exposed to the atomic bomb’s residual radiation after entering the city center. “I couldn’t hear his experience of the atomic bombing directly, but I’ve heard how horrible the nuclear weapon was from my grandmother and mother,” he said. As he is fluent in English, he hopes to convey in English what A-bomb survivors have to say.

As to their activities limited by the pandemic, Ms. Yunoki said, “Now people in the world can be connected online, so I will try to come up with new ways of sending out information.” Ms. Kajiwara expressed her hope, saying, “I will try to do whatever I can for the sake of world peace.”

The High School Peace Ambassador Dispatch Committee, a citizens’ group located in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invited applications from across the nation. This year’s ambassadors are the 23rd group. In Hiroshima, they were selected among 39 applicants through essays and interviews.

(Originally published on August 1, 2020)