Ambassador Nishida’s Remarks at the Press Event:
Hibakusha Respond to the “Poetry for Peace” Contest
October 25, 2011
Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to hold this event in close cooperation with the United Nations, and to have the opportunity to introduce two “Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons” to share their experiences with all of you.
Ms. Kazue Sueishi and Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, who are with us today, survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Since then, they have been working strenuously to share, especially with younger audiences like you, their personal accounts of the horrific consequences of the use of nuclear weapons as well as their belief in the importance of peace.
Japan has made a commitment to work toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons. For that purpose, we believe it is essential to promote disarmament and non-proliferation education throughout the world. We have therefore appointed more than thirty “Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons” like Kazue and Setsuko here, all of whom are atomic bomb survivors, hibakusha. Japan has been working very closely with the United Nations to disseminate the experiences of the hibakusha using the Internet and other media.
Given the importance of reaching out to the younger generation in order to promote peace, I am delighted to have Ms. Monique Coleman, UN Youth Champion, joining us today. She has helped us in encouraging people around the world to listen to the voices of the hibakusha through her own website and to submit their work to the “Poetry for Peace” contest. Thank you, Monique, for inspiring the generations to follow.
The “Poetry for Peace” contest, which was jointly organized by the Japanese Mission to the UN and the United Nations, has been a great success, attracting more than 700 entries. The poems, submitted from all over the world, have been an enthusiastic response to the calls for peace made by the Special Communicators and hibakusha. As one of the contest judges, I considered it a genuine privilege and joy to read those poems, and I was moved by many of the powerful works of art that I encountered.
Tomorrow, here at the UN, Ms. Sueishi and Ms. Thurlow will share their experiences with diplomats who are now involved in negotiations on disarmament and non-proliferation at the United Nations. This will be one of many efforts we are making to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, and I am most certain it will be a memorable one.
Thank you for joining us today.