Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of Gensuikyo.
First of all, we strongly protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Israel’s attack on Gaza. These acts are in violation of international law. It is beyond the scope of self-defense. In order to prevent further civilian sacrifices, I strongly demand that all nations abide by the UN Charter and international law, and that these conflicts are resolved peacefully.
In addition, I strongly feel that the threat of nuclear weapons is growing under these global circumstances. Russian President Putin has not ruled out the possibility of using nuclear weapons, repeating nuclear threats. Also, Israeli Minister of Culture and Heritage Eliyahu said, “Dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza is one option. The threat of nuclear weapons is absolutely unacceptable.
I visited Hiroshima, Nagasaki and participated in the World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. I listened to the stories of hibakusha and learned what war and nuclear weapons have brought to their lives. One Hibakusha told us that when he saw hundreds of bodies floating in the river after the bombing, he thought, “No matter how much you call it war, this kind of killing is absolutely unacceptable.” Nuclear weapons take people’s lives indiscriminately and in an instant. Even those who narrowly survived had to live with a lot of sufferings, such as cancer and unexplained health problems, or being exposed to discrimination and prejudice.
It is the strong wish of the Hibakusha, who have experienced firsthand the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, that nuclear weapons should never be used again.
Unfortunately, however, there are still more than 12,000 nuclear weapons on earth. The leaders of the nuclear weapon states always advocate nuclear deterrence. They said “We are protected because we have nuclear weapons” But are we really safe with so many nuclear weapons? During the Cold War, many people were exposed to atomic bombings due to massive nuclear tests. History shows that many times nuclear weapons have come close to being launched. If even one nuclear weapon is used by any country, the damage will go beyond the borders. We are threatened by nuclear weapons because they exist. In order for us to be free from the threat of nuclear weapons, all nuclear weapons must be eliminated from the earth.
It is shameful that Japan, the only country to have experienced nuclear war, has not joined the TPNW and has not even participated in this meeting as an observer because Japan has a military alliance with the US and is under a nuclear umbrella. In addition, in recent years, the Japanese government has taken the position of nuclear deterrence and has further expanded its military.
Seeing this situation may make us feel gloomy, I think there is hope. The birth of the TPNW from the persistent effort of the Hibakusha and peace movements worldwide is one of them. Also, when I take to streets to collect signatures supporting nuclear abolition, many young people sign them. Many people who did not know much about the treaty signed it. I feel it really important to conduct such a grass-root campaign. And I also think if Japan can join TPNW and convey the voices of the Hibakusha to the world, it would be a big step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.
I believe that peace by military alliances and nuclear weapons is not real peace. Peace through fear is not true peace. Then I will continue to strongly urge the Japanese government to join the TPNW and resolve to further expand the voices of citizens, especially among the young generation, calling for the world free from nuclear weapons.
Thank you for listening.