Workshop and Symposia

Soka Gakkai Youth in Hiroshima Sponsor Lectures on Nuclear Abolition

Mr. Tanabe calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons
Mr. Tanabe calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons

Soka Gakkai youth members in Hiroshima Prefecture sponsored lectures in their Hiroshima Study Lecture Series on July 22 and 28. Documentary filmmaker Masaaki Tanabe, who is also a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor), and former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte were guest speakers at the respective events.

At the lecture on July 22 (the 148th in the series), Mr. Tanabe spoke about his experience as a hibakusha and his work as a documentary filmmaker in order to convey the reality of the A-bomb and the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Tanabe, who was eight years old at the time of the atomic bombing, lost his father, mother, and younger brother in the explosion. His family lived next door to what is now the A-Bomb Dome, and looking for his family members at the hypocenter in the days after the bombing, he too was exposed to residual radioactivity.

Mr. Duarte meeting with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada
Mr. Duarte meeting with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada

In 1997, at the age of 60, Mr. Tanabe launched The Hypocenter Reconstruction Series, five films that visually recreate the A-bomb hypocenter and the surrounding neighborhood before the bombing, through survivor testimonies, archival footage and computer graphics. Mr. Tanabe emphasized that the A-bomb not only physically destroyed the city, but also annihilated the local culture, customs, and spirit of the communities that thrived there. He hopes that this historic undertaking can provide even a partial record for future generations.

Mr. Tanabe aims to complete the final film in the series, Reconstructing a Radius of One Kilometer from the Hypocenter—The Truth of Hiroshima, in time for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which will also mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing.

On July 28, Sergio Duarte, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and former Brazilian diplomat to USA, Nicaragua, Canada and China, spoke on the theme "Abolishing Nuclear Weapons--The mission of Hiroshima and the role of youth" at the 149th Hiroshima Study Lecture, held at the Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Ikeda Peace Hall.

Mr. Duarte with Soka Gakkai youth representatives
Mr. Duarte with Soka Gakkai youth representatives

In his lecture, Mr. Duarte emphasized that SGI President Ikeda's call for a 2015 Nuclear Abolition Summit in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as specified in his 2012 peace proposal) would greatly build momentum in the movement towards nuclear abolition. Mr. Duarte stressed the importance of continuing to take action towards one's goals, no matter how long they may take to achieve.

On July 31, Mr. Duarte visited the SGI Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and met with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and SGI General Director Yoshitaka Oba. Acknowledging the important role played by civil society organizations, Mr. Duarte expressed his deep respect for SGI's grassroots activities and conveyed his hope for cooperation with organizations like the SGI in order to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.

Following the meeting, Mr. Duarte held a dialogue session with Soka Gakkai youth representatives, in which he stressed the need to defeat the complacency that surrounds the global issue of nuclear weapons.

[Adapted from articles in the July 24 and August 1, 2012, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]

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