Catholic dioceses of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to establish foundation for support of non-governmental peace activities

by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer

On July 7, the Catholic Hiroshima Diocese (Naka Ward, Hiroshima City), the Catholic Archdiocese of Nagasaki (Nagasaki City), and other organizations established the Nuclear-Free World Foundation to support non-governmental peace activities in this 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Collected contributions will be used to fund citizens’ activities aimed at the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At a news conference held at the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace in Hiroshima (Naka Ward), Bishop Mitsuru Shirahama explained the purpose behind creating the foundation. To be accepted in 500 yen units, donations are expected to be used in numerous ways, such as for backing activities to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and covering overseas travel expenses for A-bomb survivors to testify about their A-bomb experiences.

When Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki last year in November, he delivered a message at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Naka Ward) that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral.” In Nagasaki, he stressed the importance of establishing “global funds to assist those most impoverished peoples, drawn partially from military expenditures.”

After hearing the pope’s message, five organizations—including the two Catholic dioceses, the non-governmental organization International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and the nonprofit organization ANT-Hiroshima, located in the city’s Naka Ward—decided to establish the foundation.

A steering committee composed of representatives from each organization will determine where to allocate funds. The foundation currently aims at collecting five million yen each year until the 80th anniversary of the atomic bombings, five years from now. Bishop Shirahama said, “After I heard the Pope’s thoughts, I decided to take concrete action to serve people who give their all for peace.” For more information, contact the secretariat of the Catholic Hiroshima Diocese, at 082-221-6017.

(Originally published on July 8, 2020)