Tuesday, August 06, 2013

-In Hiroshima 広島市, people believe denuclearization is still possible-

 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, today August 6th 2013

 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

 Children of Hiroshima call for Peace - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

 View of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

 Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Audience Visitors Hibakusha - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

UPDATE: Au moment même où Hiroshima commémore ses victimes 68 ans après le bombardement atomique, le monde a les yeux tournés aussi vers Fukushima Dai Ichi et sur la situation d'urgence à la centrale nucléaire détruite par le séisme et le tsunami de mars 2011: Aujourd'hui l'eau hautement radioactive qui se déverse dans l'océan Pacifique et les nappes phréatiques à partir de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima pour refroidir les réacteurs qui ont fondu il y a deux ans, crée d'ores et déjà une "situation d'urgence". RTL 1300 6 août 2013 .

I visited Hiroshima 広島市 several times since I live and work in Asia, and several times reported from there, and also worked on several scripts, stories, productions about Hiroshima 広島市 and Nagasaki 長崎市. The Hiroshima Peace museum gracefully offered our production team once to be the French narrating voice for the Francophone visitors who came to understand what happened in 1945 here, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. I remember the emotion I had in voicing such a narration and what was to happen after in Japan, in the world. We had access to archives and stories I never had heard or imagined about Hiroshima.

I worked in depth about what really happened in Hiroshima Nagasaki and the rest of Japan and what is today's reality for the Hibakusha (被爆者), the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are 210,830 Hibakusha recognised by the Japanese government, most living in Japan. But there are also others, Koreans for instance, 20,000 are said to have perished in the nuclear fire. The government of Japan recognises only a few of these as having illnesses caused by atomic radiation. Even the numbers of people killed in Hiroshima remains inexact with numbers from 99,000 to over 165,000.

Some people were said to be 被爆者 Nijū Hibakusha, tens and tens of them. They were amazingly victims of both atomic bombings! On March 24 2009, the Japanese government officially recognised Tsutomu Yamaguchi, born in 1916, as a double Hibakusha. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was confirmed to be 3 kilometers from ground zero in Hiroshima on a business trip when the bomb was detonated. He was seriously burnt on his left side and spent the night in Hiroshima. He got back to his home city of Nagasaki on August 8, a day before the bomb in Nagasaki was dropped, and was exposed to residual radiation while searching for his relatives. He was the first officially recognised survivor of both bombings. Tsutomu Yamaguchi died at the age of 93 on January 4, 2010 of stomach cancer.

Today Japan is "commemorating the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with pledges to seek to eliminate nuclear weapons. Some 50,000 people gathered Tuesday in Hiroshima's peace park near the epicentre of the 1945 blast. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed tens of thousands more, prompting Japan's surrender to the World War II Allies. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that as the sole country to face nuclear attack, Japan has the duty to seek to wipe out nuclear weapons. The anniversary comes as Japan is torn over restarting nuclear power plants shut down since a 2011 accident in Fukushima. More than 100,000 people remain displaced. Abe favours restarting plants under new safety guidelines, while many Japanese oppose such restarts."

Also these days in the middle of this Japan hot and humid weather, the General Conference of Mayors for Peace, which seeks to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons, started here in Hiroshima from August 3rd and will conclude 6th at the International Conference Centre. About 320 people from 190 cities from 23 countries and NGOs take part to the gathering to discuss a path forward for concluding a nuclear weapons convention and craft concrete plans for the organisation’s 2020 Vision Campaign, which aims to eliminate nuclear weapons from the earth by the year 2020. The theme of the general conference, held in Hiroshima for the first time in eight years, is "Toward a World without Nuclear Weapons - Conveying the ‘Spirit of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ to the World."

Interesting coincidence, at the moment of the Hiroshima declaration, in Tokyo there was a huge thunder striking noisily above the capital and torrential rain fell all of a sudden. Astonishing shock.

- For those who never read the whole Hiroshima Peace Declaration, here is the full text of the Peace Declaration issued Tuesday August 6th 2013 by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at a ceremony to mark the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

"We greet the morning of the 68th return of "that day." At 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb erased an entire family. "The baby boy was safely born. Just as the family was celebrating, the atomic bomb exploded. Showing no mercy, it took all that joy and hope along with the new life."
A little boy managed somehow to survive but the atomic bomb took his entire family. This A-bomb orphan lived through hardship, isolation, and illness, but was never able to have a family of his own. Today, he is a lonely old Hibakusha. "I have never once been glad I survived," he says, looking back. After all these years of terrible suffering, the deep hurt remains.

A woman who experienced the bombing at the age of eight months suffered discrimination and prejudice. She did manage to marry, but a month later, her mother-in-law, who had been so kind at first, learned about her A-bomb survivor's handbook. "'You're a Hibakusha,' she said, 'We don't need a bombed bride. Get out now.' And with that, I was divorced." At times, the fear of radiation elicited ugliness and cruelty. Groundless rumours caused many survivors to suffer in marriage, employment, childbirth -- at every stage of life.

Indiscriminately stealing the lives of innocent people, permanently altering the lives of survivors, and stalking their minds and bodies to the end of their days, the atomic bomb is the ultimate inhumane weapon and an absolute evil. The Hibakusha, who know the hell of an atomic bombing, have continuously fought that evil.

Under harsh, painful circumstances, the Hibakusha have struggled with anger, hatred, grief and other agonising emotions. Suffering with aftereffects, over and over they cried, "I want to be healthy. Can't I just lead a normal life?" But precisely because they had suffered such tragedy themselves, they came to believe that no one else "should ever have to experience this cruelty." A man who was 14 at the time of the bombing pleads, "If the people of the world could just share love for the Earth and love for all people, an end to war would be more than a dream."

Even as their average age surpasses 78, the Hibakusha continue to communicate their longing for peace. They still hope the people of the world will come to share that longing and choose the right path. In response to this desire of the many Hibakusha who have transcended such terrible pain and sorrow, the rest of us must become the force that drives the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons.

To that end, the city of Hiroshima and the more than 5,700 cities that comprise Mayors for Peace, in collaboration with the UN and like-minded NGOs, seek to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 and throw our full weight behind the early achievement of a nuclear weapons convention.

Policymakers of the world, how long will you remain imprisoned by distrust and animosity? Do you honestly believe you can continue to maintain national security by rattling your sabres? Please come to Hiroshima. Encounter the spirit of the Hibakusha. Look squarely at the future of the human family without being trapped in the past, and make the decision to shift to a system of security based on trust and dialogue. Hiroshima is a place that embodies the grand pacifism of the Japanese constitution. At the same time, it points to the path the human family must walk. Moreover, for the peace and stability of our region, all countries involved must do more to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free North Korea in a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone.

Today, a growing group of countries is focusing on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and calling for abolition. President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to nuclear disarmament by inviting Russia to start negotiating further reductions. In this context, even if the nuclear power agreement the Japanese government is negotiating with India promotes their economic relationship, it is likely to hinder nuclear weapons abolition. Hiroshima calls on the Japanese government to strengthen ties with the governments pursuing abolition. At the ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative next spring in Hiroshima, we hope Japan will lead the way toward a stronger NPT regime. And, as the Hibakusha in Japan and overseas advance in age, we reiterate our demand for improved measures appropriate to their needs. As well, we demand measures for those exposed to the black rain and an expansion of the "black rain areas."

This summer, eastern Japan is still suffering the aftermath of the great earthquake and the nuclear accident. The desperate struggle to recover hometowns continues. The people of Hiroshima know well the ordeal of recovery. We extend our hearts to all those affected and will continue to offer our support. We urge the national government to rapidly develop and implement a responsible energy policy that places top priority on safety and the livelihoods of the people.

Recalling once again the trials of our predecessors through these 68 years, we offer heartfelt consolation to the souls of the atomic bomb victims by pledging to do everything in our power to eliminate the absolute evil of nuclear weapons and achieve a peaceful world.  
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui (script rewritten, delivered by the City of Hiroshima)

- Why Hiroshima? A video from BBC 50 minutes http://tinyurl.com/hiroshima-peace