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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 February 28 - March 5  > Let’s step up campaign for a Japan without nuclear weapons!
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2024 February 28 - March 5 [PEACE]

Let’s step up campaign for a Japan without nuclear weapons!

March 1, 2024

A rally to commemorate the Bikini Incident 70 years ago took place on February 29 in Shizuoka City (Shizuoka Pref.). About 1,000 people participated in the rally organized by the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo).

On March 1, 1954, the United States carried out a hydrogen bomb test at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshal Islands in the Pacific, exposing many islanders and Japanese fishing boats to radiation fallout. This is called the Bikini incident.

At that time, due to public concern about health risks, fish stores and sushi restaurants across Japan experienced a sharp downturn in the consumption of tuna, which made it difficult for them to continue their businesses.

Looking back on that time, Ota Yoshio, the head of the National Federation of Traders and Producers Organizations (Zenshoren), said that a signature-collection drive against atomic and hydrogen bombs was launched by fishmongers and sushi restaurant owners in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward and that 32 million people, the majority of Japan’s adult population, signed the form.

Japan Gensuikyo Secretary General Yasui Masakazu called on the participants to promote a “nuclear-free Japan campaign” aimed at pressing the Japanese government to join in the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) representative director Tanaka Terumi (Nagasaki Hibakusha) recollected that taking part in the nationwide anti-hydrogen bomb signature drive, he began talking about his experience in the atomic bombing.

Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt in his message described the TPNW as a “ray of hope” in the world, stressing the treaty’s indispensable value.

U.S. and Lithuanian activists, Joseph Gerson, president of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, and Gediminas Rimdeika, physician and ex-director of the Chernobyl Medical Centre, appeared and spoke on the stage.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kasai Akira and “Reiwa” party lawmaker Kushibuchi Mari exchanged views and experiences with young Japanese activists who took part in the TPNW second meeting of State Parties which included 59 members, 35 observer states, and representatives of 122 civil society organizations.

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