Youth group in Hiroshima sends signatures in support of nuclear abolition to Kazakhstan

by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer

CANVaS, a Hiroshima-based youth group engaged in exchange activities with the people of Kazakhstan, collected a total of 261 signatures in support of nuclear abolition and sent them to a Kazakh anti-nuclear citizens’ initiative called the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement on December 19. The youth group said that the signatures it has gathered, along with signatures gathered by others, will be amassed by the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement and submitted to the United Nations.

About 20 members of CANVaS, including college students and working people, began collecting signatures of support from fellow students and workers at their universities and offices in late September. Takayuki Koasano, 33, the leader of the group, said, “We want to help eliminate nuclear weapons from the world by uniting the people of Hiroshima and Kazakhstan, places that have both suffered nuclear damage.” Mr. Koasano, currently a resident of Tokyo, is originally from Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima.

The signature collection drive was launched in 2011, which marked the 20th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. After some CANVaS members paid a visit this past summer to the headquarters of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement, located in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, as part of a study tour, the group decided to join hands with the organization by spearheading the signature drive in Japan.

(Originally published on December 24, 2012)