International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Opening Address

Akamatsu Koichi

Representative Director

Japan Council against A & H Bombs

Greetings to you all.

By extending the heartiest welcome to all of you who have come all the way from abroad and from all over Japan, I would like to open the International Meeting of the 2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs.

I am Akamatsu Koichi, representative director of the Japan Council against A & H Bombs. I address the opening of the meeting.

This year marks the 57anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we are holding 48th World Conference against A & H Bombs. The first World Conference against A & H Bombs emphasized the importance of the effort to make the reality of the atomic bombing known to the world, and upheld as its objectives the prevention of nuclear war, the elimination of nuclear weapons, and aid to and solidarity with Hibakusha. In the past 50 years, together with Hibakusha, the World Conference against A & H Bombs has developed a grass-roots movement in which people have made united effort on the tasks that could accord with the three objectives of the World Conference. Our movement has maintained its independence in opposition to the inference by big powers, appealing that ghumanity can never exist with nuclear weapons,h and that gthe elimination of nuclear weapons is an urgent task.h By doing so, it has helped to this day to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and to spread the voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons throughout the world.

Peoplefs movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons all over the world, above all, the effort of the Non-Aligned Movement and the New Agenda group countries, the nuclear weapons states committed themselves to undertaking to eliminate their nuclear weapons in the very last year of the 20th century. The critical situation now is that the counterflow to this agreement, though it has become a target of criticism and isolated in the world, is posing a danger of the possible use of nuclear weapons.

Never to allow the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to happen again, and to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons without delay, I am convinced that now is the time for the 2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs to play a role worthy of its history. Wishing that the participants would join hands for the success of the 2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs to pave the way for the elimination of nuclear weapons and peace in the 21st century.

Let me nominate chairs for the International Meeting, and I would like to ask for your approval. From oversea delegates, I recommend as chairs Mr. Gerald OfBrien, President of Honor, Peace Council of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Mr. Baddegama Samitha, Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, Ms. Corazon Fabros, Secretary General of the Nuclear-Free Philippines Coalition, and Mr. Ole Kopreitan, Secretary General of No to Nuclear Weapons from Norway. And from the Japanese delegates, I recommend Ms. Ejiri Mihoko, the 2002 World Conference Chairpersonsf Committee, Ms. Sakai Nozomi, Chair of the Japan Democratic Youth League, Mr. Sato Mitsuo, Japan Peace Committee, and Mr. Kawai Tomoyasu, Japan Scientists Association.

I would like to have your approval for these eight persons as chairs.