APEC Junior Conference to be held in Hiroshima in February 2010

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

As the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) convenes its meeting of senior officials in February and March of 2010 in Hiroshima, the City of Hiroshima, the Chugoku Shimbun and other organizations will also stage the "APEC Junior Conference in Hiroshima 2010" (a tentative name). Youth from the Pacific Rim region will meet to discuss ideas for the future of this part of the world.

The gathering is scheduled for February 21-22. Two young people from each of the 21 countries and regions that make up the Pacific Rim are expected to attend, totaling 42 participants. All will be 16 to 18 years old.

The conference will include a keynote speech, plenary sessions and group sessions where the participants will learn about and discuss issues related to the environment, science and technology, and education. They will also have the opportunity to ponder peace issues by listening to the testimonies of atomic bomb survivors.

Discussion by the young people will be compiled into "Messages from the Youth," which will be presented at the meeting of senior officials scheduled from February 22 through March 7 in Hiroshima.

An executive committee for the conference will be established, sponsored by the Hiroshima City Government, the Chugoku Shiumbun, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and commercial TV stations in Hiroshima. The City of Hiroshima has allocated 11.5 million for a contribution toward the junior conference in its supplementary budget bill released on September 15. Total costs for the project are anticipated to be about 30 million.

The idea of holding a junior conference was originally suggested by the junior writers of "Peace Seeds," a peace newspaper which appears regularly as an insert in the Chugoku Shimbun, at the G8 Summit of Lower House Speakers held in Hiroshima in September 2008. Yohei Kono, then speaker of the House of Representatives, and the other participating speakers approved the suggestion. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba took charge of bringing the idea to life.


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
APEC, established in 1989, consists of 21 member countries and regions of the Pacific Rim, including the United States, China, Russia and Southeast Asian nations. The APEC meeting for 2010 will take place in Japan. Before state leaders meet in Yokohama in November, related ministerial meetings will be held in various locations in Japan. The meeting scheduled in Hiroshima is the first meeting of senior officials.

(Originally published on September 16, 2009)