Hiroshima Prefecture revises plans for two international conferences, decides on online format in year marking 75th A-bombing anniversary

by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

On June 5, the Hiroshima Prefecture government revealed its plans to hold, using an online format, two international conferences originally scheduled for this summer, 75 years after the atomic bombings, with the aim of communicating messages about the elimination of nuclear weapons and world peace. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the prefecture concluded that participants from throughout Japan and overseas would face difficulties in visiting Hiroshima.

The two international conferences to be conducted online are the Hiroshima Junior International Forum, a conference designed to promote exchange among Japanese and international high school students; and the World Business Conference for World Peace, which is attended by people involved in business. Both meetings were scheduled to be held in Hiroshima.

According to people concerned, the junior international forum initially planned its fifth meeting for August this year, but that plan was put on hold until around December. The decision was made given certain conditions, including the limitations placed on Japanese students’ summer vacations this year due to the temporary closure of schools starting in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The details and scale of the online meeting will be finalized in the near future.

Meanwhile, the business conference, organized by the Hiroshima Peace Contribution Network, which includes the prefecture as a network member, began the original meeting format in 2013 and will mark its fifth anniversary this year. The conference schedule this year will be reduced from the original two days to a one-day online event in August. Aiming at the goal of realizing a peaceful world without nuclear weapons, the participants will discuss how to address worldwide economic disparities, the roles that local governments can play, and learning how to coexist with the coronavirus, among other themes.

The prefectural government has also decided to change the structure of its ICAN Academy—which provides opportunities for young people across the globe to learn more about the reality of the atomic bombings and consider a path forward toward realizing nuclear weapons’ abolition—to consist of two sections, including an online course and an actual training session in Hiroshima.

(Originally published on June 6, 2020)