ICAN Academy: Young people from 11 nations discuss nuclear weapons ban treaty with ambassadors

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Young people from 11 countries are attending the “Hiroshima-ICAN Academy on Nuclear Weapons and Global Security,” which is taking place in Hiroshima. On August 6, they met with diplomats who attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony and exchanged views on such subjects as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Ambassadors from Mexico, the Philippines, two other countries, and United Nations officials were invited to the discussion. Melba Pria, the Mexican ambassador to Japan, referred to the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea and rising tensions between the United States and Russia. She said that such circumstances make the treaty even more significant, as it stigmatizes the possession or use of nuclear weapons.

Asked by a participant what should be done to prevent harm from nuclear weapons, Ms. Pria said, “The only way is to eliminate them.” She also said that it was important to raise awareness around the world of the unacceptable inhumanity of using nuclear arms.

On August 5, the ICAN Academy participants spoke with diplomats from Russia, a nuclear weapon state, Germany, Kazakhstan, and officials from Japan’s foreign ministry.

Haruka Miyata, 23, is originally from Minami Ward, Hiroshima and now studies in London. She said, “I have come to realize that, first, we have to get the five major nuclear weapon states to sit down at the negotiating table, and we have to try to get them to understand the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.”

The ICAN Academy has been organized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO), and Hiroshima Prefecture for the first time. Fifteen young people from Europe, North America, and Asia are learning about the reality of the atomic bombing and global conditions involving nuclear weapons from July 31 to August 8.

(Originally published on August 7, 2019)