Hiroshima Vietnam Peace and Friendship Association, supporter of Agent Orange victims, marks fifth anniversary

by Nobutaka Kushi, Senior Staff Writer

On May 26, the Hiroshima Vietnam Peace and Friendship Association commemorated its fifth anniversary at a ceremony in the city of Higashihiroshima. The organization has been engaged in providing support to victims of Agent Orange, among other activities. Citizens of Higashihiroshima, who were once involved in efforts to rescue victims of the atomic bombing, turned their attention to the scars inflicted by the Vietnam War and forged ties with the people of Vietnam. This year, which marks the 40th year since diplomatic relations between Japan and Vietnam were established, the organization vows to strengthen this friendship even further.

Masahiko Kochi, chair of the group, addressed the audience and said, “We have been able to maintain our gratifying work thanks to the cooperation of many people.” About 60 people, including Higashihiroshima Mayor Yoshio Kurata and Consul Cao Anh Dung from the Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Osaka, Japan, attended the ceremony. Mr. Kochi, on behalf of the organization, publicly recognized the significant contributions of former Higashihiroshima Mayor Teruo Sanuki and others, who helped found the organization.

The Hiroshima Vietnam Peace and Friendship Association was formed in June 2009. In Higashihiroshima, the group has held a panel exhibition to promote peace and friendship and a concert to support children affected by Agent Orange. It has also offered scholarships to high school students of a minority group in Quang Tri Province, a fierce battlefield during the Vietnam War.

The Hiroshima Vietnam Peace and Friendship Association plans to send a delegation to Vietnam this October to commemorate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Vietnam.

(Originally published on May 27, 2013)