International conference for nuclear-free world opens in Nagasaki

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The 4th Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, an international conference where public and private sectors come together to explore a path toward a world without nuclear weapons, was convened at the Peace Hall in Nagasaki on February 6. For three days until February 8, the participants will exchange views on a number of items, including the role of civil society with regard to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference slated for this May.

At the opening session, in front of an audience of roughly 650 people, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said, "We must work together for the success of the NPT Review Conference in cooperation with NGOs around the world."

Jacqueline Cabasso, an American activist of civil movements and overseas guest to the conference, pointed out in her speech that "The issue of nuclear abolition must be approached as part of 'human security,' which includes environmental and other issues."

Rebecca Johnson, director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy in the United Kingdom, reported that the British government has been promoting a renewal of its submarine-launched nuclear capability, and urged the audience to raise their voices against it.

All the participants then sang a song together, called "My Plight," by the Japanese pop singer Kenji Sawada. Through this song about Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, the participants reconfirmed the importance of peace.

The conference was organized by the executive committee consisting of citizens and the Prefecture and City of Nagasaki. Hideo Tsuchiyama, former president of Nagasaki University, serves as committee chairman. Workshops will be held on such issues as the "nuclear umbrella" on February 7, and the conference will conclude with the adoption of the "Nagasaki Appeal" on February 8.

(Originally published on February 7, 2010)