International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Ayako Sekiya
Member of the Committee of Chairpersons

Address of the Organizer

We are gathered here today in Hiroshima for the first World Conference against A and H Bombs in the 21st century. The Hibakusha who rose from the hell of August 6 and 9, 1945, and along with all conscientious people speak out with one voice and join their hands to demand the elimination of nuclear weapons. Their voice has now become a major current in the world. The NPT review conference last year took a step forward by adopting unanimously the final document in which all nuclear-weapon states undertook to achieve the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

I am confident that the World Conference in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the Japanese movement against A and H Bombs, which have consistently called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, have made a great contribution to this development. I feel very comforted at the same time that the efforts of the countries striving for the elimination of nuclear weapons, especially the gNew Agendah countries and non-aligned countries, have been a major force in this.

In order to make those who holdfast to nuclear weapons live up to their undertaking to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, we must further strengthen public opinion and our actions. For this, it is important to consolidate the cooperation between our peace movement and the governments of those countries that act in favor of elimination. For this reason, I am very glad that the representatives of these governments will participate in the rally to be held in Nagasaki. I urge you, participants in this international meeting, to actively discuss actions that we can develop, especially those for strengthening cooperation with the governments of these countries.

Our movement for nuclear weapons abolition must not underestimate what the U.S. government is trying to do. Turning his back on the elimination undertaking, President Bush refuses to give up nuclear weapons, which he considers to be the symbol of U.S. power. He is engaging the country in a perilous program called gmissile defenseh which might lead to a new nuclear arms race. We who wholeheartedly aspire to world peace must build public opinion and strengthen the movement opposing Missile Defense and at the same time press harder for the abolition of nuclear weapons. I hope that you will exchange views on these dangerous moves as well as ways to stop them.

I am sure that many of you are also worried about the recent moves of the Japanese government. I myself am one of those citizens who strongly criticize these moves, especially the Prime Ministerfs visit to Yasukuni Shrine. This shrine played a role in pushing the people of Japan to the war of aggression. I also oppose the attempt to introduce into schools textbooks justifying and glorifying the war of aggression. In the past, Japanese militarism waged a war of aggression against our Asian neighbors and colonized them, causing their peoples damage and suffering beyond description. We have been strongly condemning the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but this must be linked with criticism and reflection on the war of aggression. Refusal to recognize the historical facts is totally incompatible with the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of peace.

gNuclear Weapons States Must Make Good on their Promise to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: International Cooperation and Solidarity Will Ensure the Future of the Worldh, is the theme chosen for this yearfs World Conference. I reiterate my hope that around this theme, you will share your experiences, ideas and resolves, present the results of your analysis of the developments regarding nuclear weapons in the context of the situation as it is at the beginning of the new century. On this basis I hope that you will explore together ways for developing public opinion and strengthening the movement against nuclear weapons. With this wish, I conclude my speech on behalf of the organizing committee.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs