World Business Conference for World Peace in Hiroshima closes

by Keiichi Nagayama, Staff Writer

On October 24, the World Business Conference for World Peace, which discusses subjects on building peace through business activities, closed its two-day gathering at the International Conference Center Hiroshima, in Naka Ward. About 170 attendees from businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) took part in the conference—listening to the experiences of atomic-bomb survivors, and discussing ways to abolish nuclear weapons.

Keiko Ogura, 82, a resident of Naka Ward who, at the age of eight, experienced the atomic bombing in Ushita-cho (now part of Higashi Ward), described her memory of the atomic bombing as a time when rivers in the city were choked with bodies. Given her age is representative of the average A-bomb survivor, she expressed concern as to how to convey the events of the bombing once all the survivors have passed. She also called for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Having earlier spoken with Ms. Ogura, Tilman Ruff, joint NGO founder at the International Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said he was impressed that, in their effort to see their experience never repeated, A-bomb survivors work using positive intentions instead of those centered on revenge. He also expressed his will to strengthen a movement that aims to inhibit investment in businesses related to the development of nuclear weapons.

Yuki Ota, Olympic medalist and president of the Japan Fencing Federation, also took the rostrum and appealed for a contribution to peace through sports, and suggested that if people pursued exercise and had fun, they would be healthy, feel at ease, and be kind to others.

This conference was led by Hiroshima prefectural government. The conference was held conjointly with the Positive Economy Forum for the first time. The forum has previously been held in France by economist Jacques Attali, (first head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). Women’s rights activists, representatives of environmental groups, caricaturists, and representatives of Japan and overseas businesses also expressed their opinions.

(Originally published on October 25, 2019)