Speakers of the G8 nations arrive in Hiroshima

by Kenji Namba, Senior Staff Writer

On the late afternoon of September 1, the speakers of eight nations who are taking part in the Summit of Lower House Speakers in this A-bombed city flew into Hiroshima on a Japanese government aircraft. The delegation arrived at the Hiroshima Airport at 5:35 pm and was welcomed warmly by the local people with such events as a commemorative concert in the evening.

Among the eight speakers attending the summit meeting, representatives from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada, and Russia, as well as the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, a guest participant, arrived in Japan on August 31. They had dinner with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono at the official residence of the Prime Minister.

Italian Speaker Fini arrived on the morning of September 1. On the same day, the full contingent of speakers attended a luncheon hosted by Speaker Kono, followed by an audience with the Emperor. They then moved to Hiroshima.

On September 2, the speakers will visit Peace Memorial Museum and then engage in discussions at the International Conference Center Hiroshima.

(Originally published on September 2, 2008)

Prayers for peace with G8 Speakers at a commemorative concert in Hiroshima
by Osamu Kido, Staff Writer

On September 1, a commemorative concert of the G8 Summit of Lower House Speakers was held in downtown Hiroshima. Seven of the eight speakers, with Italian Speaker Fini absent, attended the concert and listened keenly to the music, a performance accompanied by prayers for peace.

The concert, consisting of three parts, was organized by the House of Representatives, the city of Hiroshima, and other organizations. The speakers attended the second part of the concert. They waved at the audience of about 1,800 people and took their seats on the second floor to enjoy the performance of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra and Violinist Keisuke Okazaki.

In the first part of the concert, Kenichiro Otaki, a tenor, sang the anti-war song “Just a Simple Pencil” in a passionate voice. The song was originally sung by the late Hibari Misora, one of Japan’s most prominent singers. The third part then featured “First Symphony,” a composition by Mamoru Samuragochi, 44, a second-generation A-bomb survivor from Hiroshima. In his piece, which received its premiere at this concert, Mr. Samuragochi expressed the pain of the A-bomb survivors as well as his own, brought about by the loss of his hearing at the age of 35. He communicated to the audience from the stage in sign language, noting, “Nothing can be achieved simply through prayer. We must also hand down our experiences and our hopes to future generations.”

(Originally published on September 2, 2008)

Related articles
“Peace and Disarmament” symposium held in Hiroshima ahead of the G8 Speakers’ Summit (Sept. 1, 2008)
“Path of Light” illuminates Hiroshima for the G8 Speakers’ Summit (Sept. 1, 2008)
Flags unfurled to welcome G8 nations and EU to Hiroshima (Aug. 30, 2008)