Symposium in Hiroshima seeks ban on inhumane weapons

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

A symposium with the theme of “Banning Inhumane Weapons and the Role of Japan” was held at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on November 16. About 50 people attended the gathering to discuss the means by which depleted uranium (DU) and nuclear weapons might be abolished, making reference to the international efforts involved in banning antipersonnel land mines and cluster bombs.

Motoko Mekata, professor at Chuo University and a member of the coordination committee of the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL), addressed the participants. JCBL played an important role in the enactment of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, for which a signing ceremony is slated to be held this December. “While we were waiting for discussions to take place at the United Nations and other official institutions,” said Ms. Mekata, “the number of cluster bomb victims continued to grow.” She stressed the need for non-governmental organizations to approach governments in favor of banning those weapons in order to build solidarity.

Offering advice to the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition and the NO DU Hiroshima Project, both Hiroshima-based citizens’ groups and joint organizers of the symposium, Ms. Metaka observed, “Raising international awareness takes time. Please try every possible means to realize your goals.”

The participants also gathered in front of the A-bomb Dome, calling for a ban on depleted uranium by spelling out their appeal using candles.

(Originally published on November 17, 2008)

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