Young people hold study meeting to share Pope’s nuclear abolition messages

by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

Prior to Pope Francis’s visit to Hiroshima, a group of young people in the city held a study meeting at Hachidorisha, a café in Naka Ward, Hiroshima. “Kaku seisakuwo shiritai Hiroshima wakamono yukenshano kai” (Kakuwaka Hiroshima) is a group composed of young people in Hiroshima who are actively learning about nuclear policies as voters. They organized the meeting to discuss the significance of the Pope’s visit and how it can impact international conditions involving the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Miho Tanaka, 25, the leader of the group and a resident of Nishi Ward, introduced the Pope’s strong messages calling for nuclear abolition based on papers by experts and newspaper articles. She said, “He even described the present situation with nuclear weapons as the ‘end-time.’ We want to send a letter to the Pope to tell him that we share and strongly support his thoughts so that he can send out even more messages.”

Kotaro Mori, 33, a full-time teacher at Hiroshima Gakuin Junior and Senior High School and a theological student of the Society of Jesus, to which Pope Francis belongs, shared an anecdote about the Pope in which he continually struggled to help people who were suffering in his native Argentina under the military dictatorship of that time. Mr. Mori is eager for the Pope’s visit, saying, “I look forward to hearing what the Pope, who went through that time of anguish, says after taking in the atmosphere of the A-bombed city of Hiroshima.”

On November 16, about 15 members of the group and other citizens took part in the study meeting. Haruka Hirose, 25, an office worker who lives in Nishi Ward, said, “I understand how significant it will be for the Pope to hear accounts of the atomic bombing directly from the A-bomb survivors.”

(Originally published on November 19, 2019)