World Business Conference for World Peace opens in Hiroshima

by Keiichi Nagayama, Staff Writer

On October 23, the World Business Conference for World Peace opened at the International Conference Center Hiroshima, in Naka Ward. The two-day event holds as its priority the realization of peace in the world through the actions of business.

Tilman Ruff, joint NGO founder at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), gave a speech suggesting a large portion of the budget used for the expansion of the military should actually be used to support efforts aimed at global stability. ICAN received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Mr. Ruff said recent global conditions around nuclear disarmament were not headed in the right direction, and cited the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia, as an example. He also stressed that he considered this to be a crisis. Noting the U.S. and Russia spent over 1 trillion yen on the modernization their nuclear arsenals, Ruff appealed for an investment in the building of peace; asking participants to imagine the outcome should that money be used for sustainable development goals instead of building weapons.

Mr. Ruff, who through ICAN’s activities contributed to the adoption of the nuclear weapons ban treaty at the United Nations, said that even small groups could change the world if they have goals and a future-forward vision. He asked for leaders at the autonomous community level, as well as average citizens in Hiroshima, to help advance the cause for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Hiroshima prefectural government led the conference, the fourth of its kind. The conference was sponsored by the 28 member organizations of the Hiroshima Peace Contribution Network Council. Two of those member bodies are Hiroshima prefectural government and the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Around 230 people attended the event, including representatives of Japanese and overseas businesses, and members of NGOs. Before the conference closes on October 24, sessions will be held that involve people from academia, entrepreneurs, and representatives of citizens’ groups who will speak about realizing a peaceful world through sports and economic activities.

(Originally published on October 24, 2019)