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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 22 - 28  > 77-year-old man collects over 1,700 Hibakusha Appeal signatures by himself
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2017 February 22 - 28 [PEACE]

77-year-old man collects over 1,700 Hibakusha Appeal signatures by himself

February 25, 2017
Aiming to help to bring a success to the UN conference to negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a 77-year-old man living in Shizuoka Prefecture has collected more than 1,700 signatures through door-to-door visits to his neighbors.

Wakaguri Minoru, who heads an anti-nuclear weapons organization in Shizuoka’s Fujieda City, in September 2016 began canvassing for the Hibakush-led international signature-collection campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons. As of February 20, the number of signatures he collected from people in the neighborhood stands at 1,712.

His unique family name works for him in his signature-collection efforts. Wakaguri said that whenever he introduces himself to residents of households he visits, they show their curiosity about his uncommon surname and become relaxed and friendly. Then, he asks for their cooperation in the signature-collection drive by saying, “The UN will launch talks on an international treaty banning nuclear weapons in March. Your signature will contribute to creating a nuclear-free world.”

Wakaguri said, “So far in my door-to-door campaign, 70-80% of people signed their names without hesitation. Even a member of the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party put his signature on the petition,” Wakaguri said.

Wakaguri completed an undergraduate evening degree at a Tokyo college while working at a research institute of the Defense Agency (currently the Defense Ministry). Recalling the days he spent at the institute, he said, “I always felt guilty about having worked for the defense authorities.” He went on to say that in 1960, when he witnessed the massive civil movement opposing the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, he fully understood the importance of working to maintain peace and the need to relay this to children, and ended up becoming a teacher after graduation.

He said, “After starting my career as a senior high school teacher, I eventually joined peace movements and started to engage in activities to visit and hear from Hibakusha about what exactly happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This made me decide to work to realize Hibakusha’s demand for the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

Pointing out that the conclusion of a NWC in the UN arena will mean the prohibition of all nuclear weapons, Wakaguri expressed his determination to collect more signatures to push nuclear weapons states to agree to conclude a NWC.

Past related article:
> ‘6th and 9th’ antinuke action takes place across Japan in face of launch of NWC talks [January 7, 2017]
> ‘Mayors for Peace’ network resolves to cooperate with Hibakusha-led signature drive [November 12, 2016]
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