Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Rebuilding beyond Gensuikin-Gensuikyo Anti-nuke Movements, Organizations
Hiroshima Prefectural chapters of Gensuikin and Gensuikyo, members of two major prefectural survivors organizations, and other local activists came together on March 20 to launch the Hiroshima Alliance for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Transcending existing organizations, this group is striving to build, one individual at a time, a broad-based anti-nuclear-peace movement for the 21st century.
Three hundred founding members gathered for the first meeting in the East Building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Naka-ku, Hiroshima). One of the joint co-chairpersons, Professor Mitsuo Okamoto of Shudo University, declared the group's intention to achieve significant results in about ten years. He called to others saying, "The voice of Hiroshima makes a difference. Let's display some confidence. Let's start a movement determined to eliminate nuclear weapons."
Prof. Okamoto was followed by survivors, students, religious professionals, government officials and others, a total of 16 people from all walks of life, who expressed their determination to eliminate nuclear weapons and made suggestions in the form of a "relay talk." Peace activist Steve Leeper (53) said, "The people of Hiroshima need to be more aware of their own importance and take a strong leadership role in the worldwide peace movement."
The new group approved an association charter demanding, among other things, that the Japanese government formally codify its three non-nuclear principles. They also approved a set of officers. Finally, they adopted a unanimous appeal calling for "Hiroshima to come together as one and eliminate nuclear weapons early in the 21st century."
The Hiroshima Alliance is successor to the Hiroshima Nagasaki Citizens Group Demanding Nuclear Abolition, which was formed in 1998 to represent the opinions of the A-bombed cities to the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Nagasaki in November 2000, moved by its citizens group, held a major conference that brought together non-governmental organizations from around the world. Those involved in Hiroshima were inspired by this movement, which intensified the impulse to create this Alliance.
To reach out to as broad a spectrum of citizens as possible, the Alliance has established a rule that every member participates as an individual. This facilitates participation by members of Gensuikin and Gensuikyo, which divided years ago over a conflict between political parties, and by several Hiroshima City employees.
(Caption) Members of the Hiroshima alliance on stage at the launch meeting