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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 26 - March 3  > Korean antinuke activists work for a nuclear-free Busan Port following Kobe Port Formula
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2020 February 26 - March 3 [PEACE]

Korean antinuke activists work for a nuclear-free Busan Port following Kobe Port Formula

February 27, 2020
Nine activists from a South Korean peace organization, wanting to learn more about the Nuclear-free Kobe Formula, met with the Hyogo Prefectural Council against A and H Bombs (Hyogo Gensuikyo) on February 14 in Kobe City in Hyogo Prefecture.

They are members of the South Korean nationwide organization Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK). They learned of the existence of the Kobe Formula late last May which disallows entries of foreign vessels into the port that refuse to declare that they are not carrying nuclear weapons. The SPARK members said they want to have a similar ordinance in the city of Busan in order to establish a nuclear-free Busan Port as it hosts the largest U.S. naval base in South Korea.

Secretary General of Hyogo Gensuikyo, Kajimoto Shushi, talked about the history of the Kobe Formula: When WWII ended in 1945, the U.S. military took over Kobe Port. Between 1960 and 1974, a total of 432 U.S. ships made port calls there, leading to frequent occurrences of crimes committed by U.S. soldiers such as physical assaults and sex-related crimes. These incidents moved Kobe citizens to take action. Their movement sparked the call for a Kobe City declaration to block all entries of U.S. warships capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Eventually, the Kobe City Assembly on March 18, 1975, passed a unanimous resolution rejecting entry of all nuclear-armed warships. Then, the port managing authority of Kobe City began obliging every foreign vessel to submit a certification that it does not carry nuclear weapons. For 44 years since then, no U.S. warship has made a call at Kobe Port.

Kajimoto also talked about the pioneering significance of the Kobe Formula by citing the fact that the New Zealand government in 1987 enacted a nuclear-free act similar to the one in Kobe.

A SPARK member from Busan talked about the problems of the U.S. base in Busan and explained that the SPARK local is working on an anti-nuclear signature drive and intends to take part in the World Conference against A and H Bombs in New York City with Korean A-bomb sufferers this coming May.

Tsugawa Tomohisa, a Hyogo Gensuikyo representative director, expressed his hope that this exchange will help bring about a breakthrough for the establishment of a nuclear-free Busan ordinance as well as for the establishment of a nuclear-free community of peace in Northeast Asia.
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