Young people make presentations on nuclear abolition at ICAN Academy in Hiroshima

by Koji Higuchi, Staff Writer

On August 8, a program in which young people from Japan and abroad sought to develop a roadmap for abolishing nuclear weapons ended its nine-day course of activities. The program was initiated by Hiroshima Prefecture and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO) that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. To conclude the program, the 15 participants shared their ideas for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

The participants, ranging in age from 18 to 27, were selected from the public in 11 countries, including Japan, South Korea, the United States, and nations in Europe, to take part in the “Hiroshima-ICAN Academy on Nuclear Weapons and Global Security.” On the last day of the program, they gave presentations at Hiroshima Crystal Plaza, located in Naka Ward, with five groups sharing their ideas inspired by the lectures provided by ambassadors and experts.

A group that focused on breaking away from the theory of nuclear deterrence argued that the view of “national power” needed to change. They also said that such things as economics and ethics should be valued more highly that military strength. Another group said that the devastating consequences of the atomic bombing should be conveyed to people around the world by transmitting the experiences of A-bomb survivors through social media.

Looking back on the program, Satoshi Yanaizu, 18, a resident of Daito, Osaka Prefecture, who will enter Harvard University in September, said, “I listened to the experience of an A-bomb survivor and could understand the misery of the atomic bombing first-hand. I’m going to keep thinking about how we can create a more peaceful world.”

The participants received a certificate for completing the program from Masahiro Shimosaki, the head of the international department of the Hiroshima prefectural government. Mr. Shimosaki, who took part in a press conference with Akira Kawasaki, a member of ICAN’s international steering committee, said, “We were able to give these young people good training together with ICAN, which sends out strong messages to the world. I would like to increase the number of participants and implement the program fully from the next fiscal year.”

(Originally published on August 9, 2019)