“Youth Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons” to be launched by Japanese government

by Junpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

It was learned on April 4 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will launch a new program called “Youth Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons,” designed to convey the horror of nuclear weapons to younger generations. Participants in this program will be young people following in the footsteps of A-bomb survivors who have been commissioned by the ministry to serve as “Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons.” These youth will be asked to carry on the efforts made by the aging survivors to share A-bomb accounts as well as speak at international conferences and other venues as representatives of the A-bombed nation.

The idea was conceived by Fumio Kishida, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who represents the first constituency of Hiroshima Prefecture. Mr. Kishida plans to announce the idea and appeal to participating nations for their support at the foreign ministerial meeting of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), comprised of ten non-nuclear weapon states, to be held in The Hague, the Netherlands on April 9.

The ministry will pursue candidates who are of high school age or older, mainly in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Prefectures, and are engaged in peace activities and other such efforts. Those chosen to serve as youth special communicators will then be charged with conveying the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons at international conferences and exchange activities in and out of Japan. Seeking to launch the program this summer, the ministry is now working to turn the concept into reality, including the process for selecting the participants.

The City of Hiroshima has also been pursuing a program to hand down the A-bomb experience. In fiscal 2012, it initiated an effort designed to nurture “successors” of the experience by inviting participants from the public. The Japanese government’s new program of youth special communicators aims to promote human resources as well in response to the challenge of passing on the reality of the atomic bombings to future generations.

The original version of the Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons, involving A-bomb survivors, was announced by then Prime Minister Naoto Kan in 2010 when Mr. Kan attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima. The late Akihiro Takahashi, an A-bomb survivor in Hiroshima and a former director of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, was commissioned as the first special communicator. To date, a total of 93 people have been designated special communicators. 

(Originally published on April 5, 2013)