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The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
(Gensuikyo) 2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464 JAPAN

E-mail: antiatom@topaz.plala.or.jp Tel: +81-3-5842-6034 Fax: +81-3-5842-6033
Web Site: http://www10.plala.or.jp/~antiatom


The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) was established in September 1955. Since then it has waged various kinds of campaigns for: the prevention of nuclear war; the total ban on and the elimination of nuclear weapons; and support and solidarity with Hibakusha (victims of the atomic bombing.) The council's founding followed the first World Conference against A & H Bombs, which was held in August of the same year in the wake of the U.S. hydrogen bomb testing at the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. The test, code named "Bravo", had victimized, along with a number of the islanders, many Japanese fishermen. The Japanese people was outraged for being exposed to the nuclear weapons for the third time after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and felt the need to establish an organization that would take charge in mobilizing national movements against nuclear testing and nuclear weapons.

Gensuikyo is an non-governmental and an umbrella organization constituted by local Gensuikyos of all of the 47 prefectures of Japan, and some 50 national organizations (such as trade unions, women, youth/students, religious, lawyers organizations) and individuals that share the same goals. Its action program is discussed and decided by its board members at annual national council meeting.

Gensuikyo sends delegations to international conferences related to nuclear disarmament, including the annual U.N. General Assembly and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also participates numerous international conferences not only on disarmament issues but also on broader issues related to war and peace.

Gensuikyo has also sent delegations to meet with nuclear victims of other parts of the world and worked in solidarity with the victims and peace organizations of those countries. Those places include, the United States, the former Soviet Union, the U.K., French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands, Fiji and India.

Gensuikyo is a member of International Peace Bureau (the IPB) and its Secretary General, Hiroshi TAKA, serves a vice-president of the IPB.

(June, 2003)

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Introducing the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo)

Background

Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) was founded on September 19, 1955. In the background of the founding of the organization was the damage and suffering from nuclear weapons brought to Japan on three occasions: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Bikini.

<Hiroshima and Nagasaki>
The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6 and on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The enormous destructive power of the heat rays, blast pressure and radiation of the atomic bombs created a hell on earth beyond human imagination. The number of those who were killed instantly on that day or those who had died by the end of 1945 after much suffering were 150,000 in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki (10,000 respectively). The total number of the Hibakusha (A-bomb victims) who had died by the end of 1995 was about 340,000, and at present, there are 290,000 Hibakusha survivors.

The U.S., fearing that if the truth about the A-bombing were disclosed and known to the world ?it would be charged with violation of international law, made an official announcement at the beginning of September 1945, only 1 month after the atomic bombing, saying that those who were doomed to die have all died and now there is no one who is still suffering from the A-bomb radiation. A strict Press Code was imposed on all reports regarding the atomic bombing and the damage it caused. The Japanese government, under full occupation of the U.S forces, cooperated with the U.S. and stopped the relief activity for the survivors, leaving them in pain and suffering for a long time.

<Bikini Tragedy>
The Bikini hydrogen bomb test and the suffering it caused in 1954 greatly shocked the Japanese people. It reminded them of the atrocity on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the voices for a ban on atomic and hydrogen bombs spread across the country.

This hydrogen bomb test was code-named "Bravo", and was conducted by the U.S. on March 1, 1954 at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where a Japanese tuna fishing boat "The Fifth Lucky Dragon" was smothered with deadly fallout, causing the death of one crewmember later that year. The destructive power of the hydrogen bomb was about 1,000 times that of the Hiroshima-type A-bomb, and it caused extensive pollution around the test area, including the Marshall Islands. At the time, not only the Fifth Lucky Dragon, but as many as 856 Japanese fishing boats with some 10,000 crewmen on board were operating in the surrounding area and were exposed to radiation. It also had a serious impact on the Japanese people as a whole, as a result of the polluted fish.?
This incident again brought home to the Japanese people the terror of atomic and hydrogen bombs. The signature campaign to prohibit A-and H-Bombs triggered by the incident spread all over the country and within one year the number of signatures collected reached 34 million, the majority of the then eligible voters of Japan. In the background of such enhanced public opinion and the movement against nuclear weapons, the First World Conference against A and H Bombs was held in Hiroshima in August 1955, where three basic goals of the anti-A and H-Bomb movement were established: Prevention of nuclear war, Abolition of nuclear weapons, and Relief and solidarity for the Hibakusha. Following the conclusion of the World Conference, Japan Gensuikyo was formed on September 19, 1955 as a body to continue the movement.

Goals and Activities

Upholding the three goals established in the First World Conference against A and H Bombs: Prevention of nuclear war, Abolition of nuclear weapons, and Relief and solidarity for the Hibakusha, Japan Gensuikyo has worked to develop public opinion and cooperation among people for the core task of abolishing nuclear weapons. In so doing, it has succeeded in transcending differences of thought, creed and political position.

Prevention of Nuclear War and Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
1) World Conference against A & H Bombs:
Ever since its first meeting in August 1955, the Japanese anti-A and H-bomb movement has every year convened the World Conference against A & H Bombs during the days of August 6 and 9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Working together with the Hibakusha, the World Conference has contributed to spreading the message of "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Never Again" to all corners of the world, to save the human race from the danger of nuclear catastrophe. The World Conference draws together some 10,000 delegates from all over Japan, including representatives of anti-nuclear peace groups and nuclear victims organizations of the world. At the conference these people are able to exchange experiences and information and discuss future directions for the movement to send out to the world.

Recently, cooperation with governments of countries of the New Agenda Group and the Non-Aligned Movement has been increasing, as seen in the attendance of representatives from these countries at the World Conference and the messages of solidarity from the heads of states addressed to the Conference, such as Malaysia, Sweden and New Zealand. In the 2002 World Conference, the Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt and the Disarmament Ambassador of Malaysia took part. The prospect for cooperation and joint effort with these non-nuclear governments for the common goal of a nuclear weapon-free world is growing.

2) Nation-Wide Peace March
Since 1958, a Nation-Wide Peace March has been organized, starting in May on 11 different routes heading for Hiroshima and Nagasaki to join the World Conference. The Tokyo-Hiroshima course starts in the beginning of May with the ceremony held in front of the Fifth Lucky Dragon Museum in Tokyo. A few through-marchers lead the marches all the way from Tokyo to Hiroshima for three months, joined by thousands of local citizens and peace workers on the way. Along the way, many mini peace marches have branched out from the main routes, to spread the message of peace to all local communities in Japan. A total of about 100,000 people took part in one or more of these marches last year, and the coordination to link these marches with other groups' efforts is also developing.

3) Day-to-Day Campaigns for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
A. "Don't Use Nuclear Weapons, Abolish Them" Campaign:
Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the world's population opposes Bush's war on Iraq, on March 20, the U.S.-U.K. military launched their bombing attacks on Iraq. Carrying on from its initiatives to prevent the war, Japan Gensuikyo has been working on the signature campaign: "Don't Use Nuclear Weapons, Abolish Them" as its core activity in the current situation. This signature campaign sends out a warning about the fact that the U.S. openly declares that it does not exclude the option of using nuclear arms, and that it is developing "usable" nuclear weapons. The campaign also strongly opposes wars of preemptive strike where nuclear weapons might be used and it sternly criticizes the Koizumi government of Japan for its cooperation in this U.S. war and its unbecoming attitude as the only A-bombed country.
Signatures have been collected all over the country, especially on the 6th and 9th days of every month ("6th and 9th Actions") and have been delivered to the U.S. and the Japanese governments.

B. Achievement of the signature campaign for the "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki"
Prior to the above signature campaign, Japan Gensuikyo had worked since 1985 on the signature campaign in support of the "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a Total Ban and the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons". This signature campaign was launched by the representatives of anti-nuclear peace movements of 12 countries, including Japan Gensuikyo, on the 6th and 9th of February 1985. The signatures collected for this appeal exceeded 61 million (out of Japan's population of 127 million), and in 800 local municipalities, including 17 prefectures (Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and others) more than half of their citizens signed the appeal. This extensive "Appeal" signature campaign contributed greatly to the enhancement of public opinion demanding the abolition of nuclear weapons, as evidenced by the growing number of nuclear-free declaration municipalities. Currently, more than 70% of the Japanese people live in such municipalities.
Also, the 1987 World Conference against A & H Bombs called for the "Peace Wave" international joint actions, where the "Appeal" signature campaign was carried out as a common form of action across the world. The "Peace Wave" action was called for several times, culminating in the "Peace Wave to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing" in 1995, and the "Appeal" signature campaign was carried out in more than 60 countries on all continents.

4) Nuclear-free Local Municipality Movement and "Nuclear-Free Kobe Formula"
The number of nuclear-free declaration municipalities now amounts to 2600 out of 3300 local governments, and in 17 prefectures all the local municipalities have declared themselves nuclear-free. This means that 70% of the Japanese people now live in nuclear-free cities or towns. These nuclear-free municipality governments are working on the promotion of peace education (organizing meetings to listen to the Hibakusha, A-bomb photo exhibitions, etc) or legislating peace ordinances.

It was during the periods from 1984 to 1985, and also around 1996 when the number of these nuclear-free governments showed rapid increase. Japan Gensuikyo started the movement to create nuclear-free municipalities in 1982. The "Appeal" signature campaign, which started in 1985, gave impetus to the nuclear-free local authorities movement, helping to strengthen public opinion for the abolition of nuclear weapons from the grass-roots communities.

An important product in this movement is the Nuclear-Free Kobe Formula, which was established in 1975 in Kobe. With this formula, incoming foreign military ships are mandated to submit a certificate of non-presence of nuclear weapons on board. After World War II, Kobe Port of Hyogo Prefecture was placed under full occupation of U.S. military until 1951 and from 1952 it was used as a base for the U.S. 7th Fleet. The number of portcalls of U.S. warships between 1960 and 1974 amounted to 432. The people of Kobe started a movement to oppose the military use of the port and demanded the return of Kobe Port to the citizens. With this movement as a background, a progressive mayor was elected in 1973. Under his administration, the Kobe City Assembly in 1975 unanimously adopted the "Resolution Concerning the Refusal to Entry of Warships Carrying Nuclear Weapons." Since then, the Nuclear-Free Kobe Formula has been supported and protected by the efforts of the people, despite repeated attacks and pressure from the Japanese and U.S. governments. Efforts are also being made in other port cities to adopt this formula or establish a non-nuclear port ordinance.

5) Related Struggles and Activities in Japan
In the midst of growing opposition to the war on Iraq, Japan was among the very few countries to voice clear support for the U.S., demonstrating once again its clear subordination to U.S. policy. Prime Minister Koizumi accepts the U.S. strategy of preemptive attack and the use of nuclear weapons as "options". Even in the U.N. sessions, from the position of accepting the possible use of nuclear weapons, Japan abstained from voting on resolutions for the abolition of nuclear weapons, clearly betraying the general public of the A-bombed country and despite the war-renouncing Article 9 of its constitution.

The current attempt of the Japanese government to force the legislation of the 'contingency law' is aimed to establish a system to involve Japan fully in U.S.-led wars. With the "Secret Nuclear Agreement" between the two governments and more frequent visits to Japan of U.S. nuclear-powered submarines capable of launching nuclear attacks, the danger is increasing that Japan will be made a sortie base for preemptive nuclear attacks on other countries.

Japan Gensuikyo demands that the Japanese government stop its war cooperation and subordination to the U.S. Severely denouncing the Japanese Government for its acceptance of the U.S. preemptive strike policy and the policy of the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, Japan Gensuikyo urged the Japanese government to act responsibly as the government of the country which experienced the suffering caused by a nuclear attack.

Relief for the Hibakusha and Solidarity with the Nuclear Victims of the World
Upholding the work of relieving and supporting the Hibakusha as one of its fundamental aims since its founding, Japan Gensuikyo has worked together with the A-bomb survivors to inform the public in Japan and internationally of the damage and after-effects of the atomic bombing, of the current situation of the Hibakusha and the appeals that they are making, and to demand justice and compensation for the Hibakusha and to appeal for the creation of a nuclear weapon-free world.

On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, currently the Hibakusha are collectively filing their applications for the official recognition of having A-bomb related diseases, and preparing to file lawsuits against the Japanese government for rejecting their applications. They are not only demanding the correction of the government's cold-hearted administration of the relief of and compensation for the suffering of the surviving Hibakusha, but they are also waging a struggle on behalf of those who have perished and can no longer speak to hold the perpetrators responsible for the atomic bomb attacks on them, and they are working to open up a world without nuclear weapons. Japan Gensuikyo and all its local organizations are giving full support to these Hibakusha's desires, campaigns and lives.

As part of the activities to disseminate the truth of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the situation and struggles of the Hibakusha, Japan Gensuikyo has organized a gift campaign to send sets of A-Bomb photo panels to many peace groups and educational institutions all over the world. When India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, an intensive campaign was carried out to send these photos to the two countries, helping the people to dissuade their governments from possessing nuclear weapons.

In the solidarity movement for the world nuclear victims, Japan Gensuikyo has sent a number of delegations to communities which have become victims of nuclear tests and nuclear development, including the Marshall Islands, Downwind areas of Nevada Test Site, Semipalatinsk, Tahiti, and Fiji. The delegation members included doctors and scientists with professional knowledge on the issue to investigate and help with the health and radiation situation of the local people. At every year's World Conference, representatives of nuclear victim communities make appeals to the world in regard to their suffering and for solidarity and exchange information on their struggles.

Looking to 2004, the 50th anniversary of the Bikini Tragedy, a project is going on in the Republic of Marshall Islands to set up a "Rongelap Peace Museum" in its capital Majuro to display the damage and suffering of the people of Rongelap Atoll, who have been severely affected by the deadly fallout from the test. Japan Gensuikyo is involved in the movement and calls for world-wide support for this project.

International Activities for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Japan Gensuikyo is a member of the International Peace Bureau and the Special NGO Committee for Disarmament (Geneva) and other international networks and is taking initiatives in international arenas for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
A Gensuikyo delegation is sent to every U.N. General Assembly session, monitoring the discussion at the First Committee on disarmament issues, and exchanging views with and submitting requests to the mission of many countries in New York for the adoption of resolutions for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
At the 13th Conference of Heads of States and Governments of the Non-Aligned Movement held from the 20th to 26th of February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Japan Gensuikyo was registered as an official guest organization to the Conference, where the representative of Gensuikyo conveyed a message to all the heads of states in the Conference.

Organization

Japan Gensuikyo is a federated body of 60 national organizations, including youth, women, labor, medical institutions and others with a combined membership of 2.5 million. There are prefectural and local Gensuikyo organizations in all 47 prefectures affiliated to Japan Gensuikyo.

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Contact:
Yayoi Tsuchida
International Staff
Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo)
2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464 Japan
Tel: 81-3-5842-6034 Fax: 81-3-5842-6033
Email: antiatom@topaz.plala.or.jp
Web Site:http://www10.plala.or.jp/antiatom/

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