Hiroshima resident named "Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons"

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

Masaaki Tanabe, 72, a Hiroshima resident and A-bomb survivor, and the president of a film production company that has created a documentary film restoring the appearance of Hiroshima before the bombing, has been named by the Japanese government as a "Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons." He will screen the film at the Japan Film Festival, which will open on October 21 in Cairo, Egypt, and deliver a lecture there.

Mr. Tanabe, whose home was by the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (now, the Atomic Bomb Dome), has been engaged in restoring the appearance of the hypocenter area lost to the atomic bombing as his life's work. This past August, he completed a documentary film, employing computer animation, which restores the townscape and the daily life of the former Nakajima Honmachi district, a neighborhood that became part of Peace Memorial Park after World War II.

In May, Mr. Tanabe showed a portion of the film, which was in the making, at the United Nations headquarters in New York while the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) Review Conference was being held. He was then asked by the organization affiliated with the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Japan to take part in the film festival. After this, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan launched the idea of "Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons." Mr. Tanabe was commissioned to serve as a "communicator" and attend the festival. He will also screen the film and speak in Kuwait.

Mr. Tanabe is resolved to convey the message that nuclear weapons can never bring about security in the Middle East, a region grappling with nuclear issues.

(Originally published on October 7, 2010)

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