Peace marches for nuclear weapons abolition starts

The 2002 People's Peace March calling for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons started a three-month campaign on May 6.

The People's Peace March is organized every year. In 12 different courses covering all 47 prefectures, marchers will join with local grassroots peace movements to help increase public support for the cause of the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In Tokyo, about 1,000 people participated in the local walk marking the start of the Tokyo-Hiroshima course.

Speaking at a rally before starting the march on behalf of the People's Peace March Organizing Committee, Kobayashi Yoji, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) president, stressed the importance of this year's peace march which is being held at a time when wartime legislation is a major issue in parliament.

A 20-year-old student who will walk to Hiroshima from Tokyo was applauded when he stated, "I hope many young people will join us and walk even a few steps."

Speakers included members of the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (JMIU), the delegation to the last month's youth peace rally in Washington D.C., members of women's and youth organizations, and people from the religious community.

Tanaka Terumi, general secretary of the Japan Confederation of A and H Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Japan Hidankyo), said that A-bomb sufferers (Hibakusha) also join the march throughout the country.

A woman who joined the march pushing her baby car said, "I started loving life more when I had a baby. Now I am determined to stop war that victimizes children." (end)