Young participants at international forum deliver Hiroshima Declaration to share plans for nuclear-free world

by Koji Higuchi, Staff Writer

The four-day Hiroshima Junior International Forum, in which 88 high school students from 32 countries and regions, including Japan, gathered in Hiroshima to discuss ways of achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world, concluded on August 23. The students announced the Hiroshima Junior International Forum Declaration which summarizes their ideas concerning a path toward the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of world peace. They also reported on their action plans for the future.

The Hiroshima Declaration was read out by three student representatives in English at a brief meeting held at the International Conference Center Hiroshima in Naka Ward. They stressed that the reason why nuclear abolition has not progressed is because the dangers of nuclear weapons are not fully understood. The students also emphasized the importance of spreading the facts of the devastating aftermath of the atomic bombing throughout Japan and the world by making use of social networking services (SNS) and other media. They have also decided to appeal to young people in particular, proposing ways of reproducing the scenes after the atomic bombing through the use of virtual reality (VR) technology.

This year’s forum provided the participants with the first opportunity to announce their action plans based on the Hiroshima Declaration. Eight of the students said, “On SNS sites, we will post what we learned about the atomic bombing at the forum,” and “We will organize classes in schools all over the world on August 6 each year to commemorate the atomic bombing and ensure that the people of the world renew their thoughts and ideas about peace.”

The International Junior Forum has been organized by Hiroshima Prefecture every year since 2016, making this year’s forum the fourth such event. Koki Yoshimoto, a 16-year-old second-year student at Gionkita High School and a resident of Asakita Ward, vowed, “As a result of the discussions I had with the participants from other countries, I’ve realized the significance of disseminating the history of the atomic bombing from Hiroshima. I intend to improve my command of English in order to convey this history to as many people as possible.”

(Originally published on August 24, 2019)