University students from Hiroshima attend Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day in New Zealand

by Mayumi Nagasato, Staff Writer

Twelve students from the Hiroshima University of Economics (HUE), who took part in the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day event in Christchurch, New Zealand, spoke to the public about their experience on November 5 at the HUE campus. In reaction to this experience, where they were exposed to the argument that the dropping of the atomic bombs brought an earlier end to the war, the students stressed the importance of persistently communicating the devastation wrought by the atomic bombings.

In front of about 80 people, the twelve students took turns sharing their experiences of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day gathering, which was organized by a local citizens’ group this past August. They commented about being impressed with the fact that people in a place far from Hiroshima hold an event appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The students themselves reportedly spoke in English to urge the participants of the event to “work together for world peace.”

At the same time, the HUE students remarked that, during a discussion with local students, they were shocked by the rationale expressed by some that the atomic bombings hastened the end of the war. They also said that their meeting with Kate Dewes, the coordinator of a New Zealand NGO, helped them “see the importance of being persistent in our efforts.” Ms. Dewes’ organization played an important role in the International Court of Justice issuing an advisory opinion stating that the threat and use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law.

Saeko Hino, 20, a third-year student and the group leader, advised the other students in attendance, “Getting to know each other is the first step toward peace.”

(Originally published on November 7, 2008)

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