20,000 women discuss peace, human rights: Japan Mothers' Congress

About 20,000 women with the humble desire to "live a better life" or "live a humane life" attended the 48th Japan Mothers' Congress held in the western prefecture of Fukuoka from July 27-28. They discussed a wide-range of issues, including education, women's rights, and war and peace.

Speaking on behalf of the organizing committee, Kimura Yasuko said that the contingency legislation and government officials' recent remarks in favor of changing away from the Three Non-nuclear Principles (not to possess, manufacture or allow nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan) must be blocked. She called for individual persons' demands for peace to be brought together to achieve world peace.

This year's main speaker, Nakamura Tetsu, a medical doctor, spoke about his activities in Afghanistan. Nakamura, who has been helping Afghan people with medical treatment and food for 18 years, told an audience of 11,000 that "the world can unite to protect life."

An international symposium was held on the theme "For a peaceful 21st century free of terrorism and war." Panelists from Japan, South Korea, and the United States, involved in Northeast Asian security affairs, discussed ways for the region's people to cooperate with each other in achieving peace.

Rita Lassar from New York spoke about the death of her younger brother in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, her visit to Afghanistan, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She said violence must not be responded to by violence.

South Korea's Kim Jenan reported on Koreans' demand that the U.S. soldiers who are responsible for the death of junior high school girl students be brought to trial in South Korea. (end)