International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Address of the Organizer

Ayako Sekiya
Member of the Committee of Chairpersons

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 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 such a development.  I feel very comforted at the same
time that the efforts of the countries striving for the elimination of nuclear weapons, especially the "New Agenda" countries and non-aligned countries, have been a major force in this.

In order to make those who holdfast to nuclear weapons live up their undertaking up 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 those countries that act in favor of elimination.  For this reason, I am very glad that the representatives of these countries 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 as the symbol of U.S. power.  He is engaging the country in a
perilous program called "missile defense" which might lead to a new nuclear arms race.  We who wholeheartedly aspire to world peace must strengthen public opinion and 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 theose citizens who strongly criticize these moves, especially the Primi Minister's 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 textbooks justifying and glorifying the war of aggression into schools.  In the past, Japanese militarism waged a war of aggression against our Asian neighbors and colonized them, causing their peoples damage and sufferings beyond description.  We have been strongly condemning the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is linked with criticism and reflection on the war of aggression.  The refusal to recognize the historical facts is totally incompatible with the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of peace.

"Nuclear Weapons States Must Make Good on their Promise to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: International Cooperation and Solidarity Will Ensure the Future of the World", is the theme chosen for this year's 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 situation at the beginning of the new century, and on this basis explore together ways for developing public opinion and the movement against nuclear weapons.  With this wish, I conclude my speech on behalf of the organizing committee.