I am grateful to see so many people participating in this World Conference, and I would like to thank the Organizing Committee for inviting me to the Conference.
I was thirteen years old when I was exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The bomb caused damage not only to Japanese people but also to many South and North Koreans. About 10 percent of all the Hibakusha of Hiroshima are Koreans. We, South Korean Hibakusha have no access to compensation, and the Japanese government has carried out no investigation to figure out the number of the South and North Koreans killed by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Why did we have to suffer the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Most of the South Korean Hibakusha are those who were forcibly taken to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Japanese government to engage in forced labor. For all these 56 years after the atomic bombing, the Japanese government has left the Korean Hibakusha in lurch, taking no responsible measures for their relief. We want to ask the Japanese government: gWhy do you continue ignoring us?h
At present, there are 2,200 Hibakusha living in South Korea. They are aging. In ten years from now, none of us will be alive. The Japanese government is waiting for the moment when we all die out.
People around the world as well as South Koreans feel indignation at such an attitude of the Japanese government. The Japanese government must apologize and make compensation to the Korean Hibakusha for their suffering. There shall be no more Hibakusha like us.
Nuclear weapons states pose a great danger to the whole humanity. Do they possess nuclear weapons to use them? Or to threaten other countries? Either is an absurd idea. We must never bring on war again.
We are assembling here today, to create a world free of nuclear weapons. By eliminating nuclear weapons, we can achieve a genuine world peace. Let us bring our forces together to accomplish this goal.