Prior to start of International Group of Eminent Persons meeting, group members meet and speak with young people

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

Members of the International Group of Eminent Persons, made up of specialists and diplomats from Japan and overseas, met and spoke with young Japanese people in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward on December 9, ahead of the opening day of the first meeting, to be held in Hiroshima City on December 10. The aim of the group’s first meeting is to look for ways to eliminate nuclear weapons. The gathering’s participants discussed measures and ideas for attaining a world without nuclear weapons amid an increased risk of nuclear weapons’ use against the backdrop of the situation in Ukraine.

Eight group members met 12 high school and college students with experience as “Youth Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons,” under appointment by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the gathering held at the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima, the scheduled venue for the group’s official meeting. Anju Niwata, 20, a junior at the University of Tokyo who is originally from Hiroshima’s Higashi Ward, said in her greetings to the gathering, “I hope the upcoming meeting can serve to span the divide between nuclear and non-nuclear states.”

The participants exchanged opinions for about one hour in the closed gathering. According to participants, one of the ideas expressed was the importance of the involvement of women and young people in deliberations aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The International Group of Eminent Persons, organized by Japan’s national government, is made up of 15 members representing both nuclear and non-nuclear nations. On December 10, the first day of the meeting, a video message is to be delivered by Barack Obama, who visited Hiroshima in 2016 as the first sitting U.S. president to do so. Members will also listen to an A-bomb survivor explain their experiences in the bombing as well as speak with members of non-governmental organizations. On December 11, the second day of the meeting, they are scheduled to visit Peace Memorial Park, located in Hiroshima’s centrally located Naka Ward.

(Originally published on December 10, 2022)