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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 June 1 - 7  > 57 years of mothers’ struggle to save lives from nuclear power
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2011 June 1 - 7 [PEACE]

57 years of mothers’ struggle to save lives from nuclear power

June 7, 2011
Akahata ‘Current’ column

“Let’s mobilize mothers’ power and change our society so that children and mothers can live without anxiety.”

This was a call, echoed 56 years ago at the Toshima Public Hall in Tokyo. It was June 7, 1955, when the 1st Japan Mothers’ Congress was held.

The Japan Mothers’ Congress gave its first cry for action amid growing public protest against the hydrogen bomb testing near Bikini Atoll, conducted by the United States in March 1954. Hiratsuka Raicho and other members of the Japan Federation of Women's Organizations (Fudanren) sent to the Women's International Democratic Federation an appeal calling for a ban on atomic and hydrogen bombs. This created a momentum to hold the World Mother’s Congress in Switzerland in order to protect children from nuclear wars. In Japan, in an effort to send delegates to the conference, the first Japan Mothers’ Congress was held that year.

Nearly 2,000 people around the country attended the meeting. Among them, Kuboyama Suzu, wife of late Kuboyama Aikichi, former chief radio operator of Daigo Fukuryumaru (Lucky Dragon#5) made a speech. She said, “My husband should be the last victim. I strongly hope the last words of my husband on his deathbed will come true, ‘Stop hydrogen bomb testing. Ban A- and H-bombs’.” Participants shed tears and were united to work for peace (“10 years of mothers’ movement”). It was a huge step forward in the women’s struggle for social change.

Now, mothers devote themselves to securing safe water, food and soil to protect their children from radioactive contamination. Movements are spreading nationwide to make the government take sufficient measures to minimize children’s radiation exposure and to call for a total withdrawal from nuclear power generation.

This year marks the 57th anniversary of the Japan Mothers’ Congress. It will take place on July 30 and 31 in A-bombed Hiroshima. Women’s desire to nurture and protect lives has been and will be passed on from generation to generation.
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