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Obama speech gives momentum to monthly '6th & 9th day of action' calling for nuclear-free world

The monthly anti-nuclear weapons action on April 6 was special as it took place immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama's statement that "the United States has a moral responsibility" to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Hiroshima Council against A and H Bombs (Hiroshima Gensuikyo) and the Hiroshima A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization (Hiroshima Hidankyo) took to the streets of downtown Hiroshima City to collect signatures in support of the call for the abolition of nuclear weapons and raise donations to help atomic bomb victims (hibakusha).

Asking passersby for signatures and donations, participants cited the speech U.S. President Obama delivered in Prague in which he had said, "[A]s the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act" towards achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

They also touched on the North Korean rocket launch of April 5, saying, "To urge North Korea to give up its nuclear-weapons development program, Japan should make diplomatic efforts by giving full scope to the value of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, not resort to militaristic posturing."

In Tokyo's Ueno Park, peace organizations, including the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), Tokyo Gensuikyo, and the Japan Peace Committee, exhibited photo panels showing the aftermath of the atomic bombings and called on park visitors to sign on to the global signature campaign, "Appeal for a Nuclear-Free World."

Taka Hiroshi, secretary general of Japan Gensuikyo, also referred to the speech delivered by the U.S. president in Prague, saying that now is the time to increase public opinion to pursue the realization of nuclear-weapons abolition.

A 19-year-old college student from Hiroshima viewing the photo panels said, "I can't understand the idea of protecting one's own country with violence. Humans can resolve problems by talking to each other."

A 40-year-old man also gazing at the photo panels said, "Such a tragedy should never happen again. I want all nuclear weapons abolished."

A 65-year-old woman with her two grandchildren said, "A nuclear-weapons free society leads to peace, so I oppose nuclear weapons."

- Akahata, April 7, 2009

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