Nuclear-Free Future Award given to Hiromichi Umebayashi, Peace Depot special advisor

by Kenichiro Nozaki, Staff Writer

Hiromichi Umebayashi, 80, a special advisor to Peace Depot, has received this year’s Nuclear-Free Future Award. Peace Depot is a non-profit organization (NPO) based in Yokohama which pursues research involving peace in the world. The Nuclear-Free Future Award, which is sponsored by a German foundation, is given to individuals and groups that have made significant contributions for nuclear abolition and nuclear non-proliferation with the goal of denuclearizing the world. Prior to this year, the award had been given to four Japanese individuals and groups, which makes Mr. Umbeyashi the fifth award-winner from Japan.

Mr. Umebayashi received the award in the SOLUTIONS category, which is one of three categories involving the abolition of nuclear arms. He was praised for the six-party framework known as the “Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone,” which he proposed with the aim of ensuring that Japan, South Korea, and North Korea agree never to possess nuclear warheads, and that, meanwhile, the United States, China, and Russia work together to help realize this agreement as members of the framework.

The Nuclear-Free Future Award was founded in 1998 by a foundation based in Munich, Germany to spotlight persistent and pioneering activities to advance denuclearization. Previously, this award had been given to four Japanese individuals and groups, including Mayors for Peace and Tadatoshi Akiba, who was the mayor of Hiroshima and the president of Mayors for Peace when the organization received the award in 2007.

Mr. Umebayashi believes that he was chosen for the award because of the nuclear tests and missile launches that have been carried out by North Korea. He said, “Although the vision of a nuclear-weapons-free zone is widely considered to be an unreachable goal, I will appeal to the public and argue that it can be a plausible solution to the issues involving North Korea.”

(Originally published on November 7, 2017)