Hiroshima summit discusses role of youth in nuclear abolition

by Junichiro Hayashi, Staff Writer

On July 17, the Hiroshima Junior Global Summit, which sought to consider the role of the next generation in pursuit of nuclear abolition, was held at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Four people, including the Russian consul general in Osaka, the Vietnamese consul general in Osaka, and a representative of a Hiroshima-based citizens' group, took part in the summit as panelists. They exchanged views with about 80 people, including youths and citizens.

Russian consul general Ivan Prokhorov shared the story of his grandfather, who was killed in World War II. He emphasized the cruelty of war and that both nuclear weapons and conventional weapons should be eliminated. Vietnamese consul general Le Duc Luu looked back on the Vietnam War, and argued that international problems could not be resolved with military might.

Representing the A-bombed city of Hiroshima, Steven Leeper, chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, and Haruko Moritaki, co-director of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, rounded out the panelists. They explained their efforts to draw up a nuclear weapons convention and said to the audience: "It is important to combine the strength of citizens with nations that have a nuclear-free vision."

Mizuki Yata, 15, a first-year student at Funairi High School who attended the gathering, stressed, "The United States, Russia, and the other nuclear weapon states have to change first."

The summit was held for the first time and organized by "Planting Seeds of Hope," an Osaka-based citizens' group for international exchange, in the hope of considering the elimination of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima, the city which suffered the world's first nuclear attack.

(Originally published on June 18, 2010)