Peace Boat invites 100 A-bomb survivors to convey their voices to the world

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Peace Boat, a Tokyo-based NGO promoting international exchange through voyages around the world, announced on July 3 that it will invite 100 A-bomb survivors on a 103-day voyage from August 28 to December 8, 2008 at no cost. The objective is to convey the voices of A-bomb survivors in person to the citizens of nuclear weapons states and in conflict-affected regions.

The ship will start its voyage from Yokohama port and cruise from Asia to the Mediterranean Sea and the South Pacific Ocean. It will stop at 22 ports in 21 countries and regions, including India, a nuclear weapons state, Tahiti, a nuclear test-affected island, and Vietnam, which suffered from Agent Orange defoliant during war with the United States. The organizer plans to hold several occasions for A-bomb survivors to share their experiences.

Peace Boat has been in consultation with such organizations as the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations through the planning stage, taking the health conditions and other needs of A-bomb survivors into consideration. Medical personnel involved in the care of A-bomb survivors will join the voyage.

The trip is being coordinated by Peace Boat and planned and implemented by a travel agency in Tokyo. A total of 1,000 passengers can take part in this special voyage. While the cost for ordinary participants, including meals, ranges from 1,480,000 yen to 3,300,000 yen per person, A-bomb survivors will not be required to pay this fee.

Akira Kawasaki, 39, Executive Committee Member of Peace Boat, remarked, “We are committed to conveying the horror of nuclear weapons through the experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as the horror of these weapons has not been fully grasped by the world.”

(Originally published on July 4, 2008)