Five world leaders respond to appeal for nuclear abolition by Kurashiki students

by Mitsuhisa Ogawa, Staff Writer

Students at Kurashiki Minami Junior High School in the city of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, have received replies to their letters which urged the leaders of the nuclear weapon states to abolish nuclear weapons and pay visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During a student gathering on March 25, nine members of the organizing committee for this project read these messages of peace received from several countries.

In early February, students sent their letters, along with origami paper cranes, to eight leaders including the presidents of China and Russia and the prime minister of the United Kingdom. They have received five replies from ambassadors of the United States, France, and India as well as the Department of Public Information of the United Nations and the Vatican.

About 380 second-year students attended the gathering. Sadahito Naka, 14, and other members of the committee projected the messages on a screen and read them aloud. The French ambassador to Japan sent a letter to the effect that “The paper cranes that decorate the students’ letters call to mind the importance of the messages of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The letter from the Indian ambassador read, in part: “We should all work together towards realizing our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The messages from France and India were accompanied by Japanese translations. For the other replies, committee members worked on producing translations after school. Sadahito commented, “I’m excited that these world leaders have heard our voices. I want to continue studying about peace and nuclear abolition so I can deepen my understanding of these issues.”

(Originally published on March 26, 2013)