Opening Plenary
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs-Nagasaki
August 7, 2001

Senji Yamaguchi

Greetings, everyone. I am Yamaguchi Senji. I sincerely welcome overseas delegates to Nagasaki. On behalf of the Japan Confederation of A & H Bombs Sufferers Organizations, I would also like to send my cordial greetings to all the Japanese participants who gathered here today from all parts of the country.

Nagasaki is a special place. I would wish that any person who desires peace - a world without war and nuclear weapons - would come to Nagasaki at least once in their life time.

Messages for peace and against war will continue to go out from Nagasaki as long as the souls of the numberless victims lie unmourned beneath her soil. Nagasaki will continue to cry out, along with those who died in agony, caught in the hell fires on that fateful day, cry out that gNagasaki must be the last A-bombed place on earth.h

The soil of Nagasaki absorbed my blood too. My upper body was badly burnt when, at the age of 14, I was exposed to heat rays that reached 4,000 degrees centigrade 1.2 km from ground zero.

A pile of bodies filled the Urakami River. They were all charred, skinless, headless, torn, potbellied, their eye balls popped out. It was hell on earth, so terrible to remember.

I was in a coma for 40 days, hovering between life and death. I survived miraculously, but numerous others died in agony. I believe that these dead people gave me life. For the last 56 years, my life has been a series of difficulties. Delayed effects, such as diarrhea, a bloody bowel discharge, loss of hair, and fever struck me one after another. The pain was so unbearable that I once attempted suicide. The Atomic bomb is a devil. I can never ever forgive it, no matter what reasons may be given.

Our appeal of gNo More Hibakushah, gnever start wars and to eliminate nuclear weaponsh and our efforts over the last half of a century to pass on the message of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have reached every corner of the world, to the point where they have become the mainstream. In 1996, the International Court of Justice gave a ruling that the use of atomic bombs is generally in breach of international law. In 2000, 187 NPT member states unanimously elicited an unequivocal undertaking from the nuclear weapons states to eliminate their nuclear weapons.

The power of public opinion and solidarity is overwhelming. The elimination of nuclear weapons has become an achievable goal.

We must contain the U.S. tyranny. The most exasperating thing is that the Japanese government backs the U.S. My friends gathered here today, let us build this powerful force stronger and stronger, in order to surround the Japanese government and force it to drop its policy of tolerating nuclear weapons.

Let us achieve a 21st century that is free of nuclear weapons and war.

The earth cries out. The wind and the water appeal for our attention. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to spread the message from Nagasaki to every corner of the world. Thank you.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs