Closing Plenary
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs-Nagasaki
August 9, 2001

Taniguchi Sumiteru
Nagasaki Federation of Atomic Bomb Sufferers Organizations

Message from Hibakusha

Friends from around the country. Friends from all over the world. Thank you for participating in rallies and activities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in this very hot weather. I sincerely hope that you will take your experience here back home and tell about them to others in Japan and the world. That will be a strong force in widening the current toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The first World Conference against A & H Bombs was held 1955 in Hiroshima and the second Conference was held here in Nagasaki in 1956. I recall how encouraging and inspiring they are for us, the surviving victims of the atomic bombings. In the process leading to the conferences, a number of Hibakusha groups were formed throughout the country. Soon they developed into a single national organization, the Hibakushafs national organization, the Japan Confederation of A & H Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo). It was 45 years ago, on August 10, 1956.

This is the proclamation issued at the foundation meeting of Hidankyo, Message to the World. gUntil today, we had kept our silence and hid our face. We had been separated and lived our lives that were left to us. But we were no longer able to keep our silence. Today, we have gathered here with a hope to join our hands and to rise up.h gToday, we commemorated the dead and talked about our sorrow and anger, about the agony and suffering that had piled up over the years that could never be fully expressed. We had done so not to console ourselves or feel a temporal relief. We had done so to join hands and stand up, for we had no other choice. We have done so to appeal to the world of the need of eliminating nuclear weapons, as we had felt we had to, to righteously urge the our government for our needs, and to discuss ways of our mutual assistance. We have made a pledge that we will save ourselves and the entire human race from the menace of nuclear destruction through telling the world of our experience.h

Forty-five years later, our will remains unchanged. At that time, the U.S. hydrogen bomb testing had opened a new nuclear arms race. Today, the world is again put at danger with the U.S. Bush administrationfs intention to make CTBT gdead letterh and withdraw from the ABM treaty, and the missile defense systems plan. The Hibakusha are getting older and weaker, but the situation does not allow us to be silent. It is our duty to tell the world of the tragedy of the bombing, an act of inexcusable mass murder, which denied our humanity. It is our duty to hold our government responsible for having misled its people into the nuclear destruction. This is the duty that the surviving Hibakusha must carry on until the last day of our lives.

Let us work together, so there will be no more Hiroshimas or Nagasakis. Let us work together, so there will be a world without nuclear weapons.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs