2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs-Hiroshima
August 6, 2001

Okamoto Mitsuo
Professor, Hiroshima Shudo University
Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Two weeks ago I visited three Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. A man from Poland asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Hiroshima, he shuddered as if he had goose bumps or heard a creepy story. I think that even those who know about the concentration camps see the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a sort of a symbol of all atrocities in human history, a crueler event in a sense than the Jewish Holocaust. I lived in the U.S. for a long time, and my family still lives there. I like the country. That does not prevent me from thinking that the offense that the U.S. committed must be brought before the court some day.

I have taught peace studies for over 20 years. More and more colleges offer peace studies classes today. We can take such classes in about 40 colleges in Japan, such as Waseda and Chuo University in the Tokyo area and Ritsumeikan, Kansai-Gakuin and Ryukoku University in the Kansai region. Classes related to peace studies are being held at about 160 universities out of about 800 universities in Japan. Last April, Tokyo University started a peace study course. As a peace studies professor, I very much welcome this initiative.

Peace studies differ from country to country, from region to region, and from time to time. I believe that peace studies done in schools in Hiroshima or in Japan should focus on the abolition of nuclear weapons. I also believe that a theory must be put into practice. So I get myself involved in various peace and anti-nuclear activities. In doing so I seek advice from the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and others. Last March, together with a number of Hibakusha and peace activists, I took part in launching the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition.

I sincerely hope that some day the Japan Congress Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikin) and the Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) will be united to a single organization, and send a strong message for peace to the rest of the world. It is my second time in Japan to speak at a big forum like this. The first one was in 1976 in Hiroshima at the World Conference organized by Gensuikin and Gensuikyo. The Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition brings together members of the both organizations in their individual capacity, as well as peace activists not affiliated with any particular organization. I hope to see a day that our initiative becomes a big current for peace by bringing together various movements in Japan and the world working for the abolition of nuclear weapons. This will send a strong message of peace to the world. I share with you my firm commitment to preventing the world from going into the 3rd era of nuclear arms race and to making a world free of nuclear weapons.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs