Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bix’s Mémoires: Afternoon in Hiroshima, August 3

Following our visit to Miyajima we returned to Hiroshima in order to meet with Steven Leeper at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Steven is an American who is the Chairman of the Board of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. It’s the first time in its history that anyone not Japanese has been given that position. He and his wife have been in Hiroshima 40 years and he is deeply respected by the Japanese as well as by all nationalities. He is very insightful, articulate and charismatic.

After arriving at the Peace Museum we were ushered into a meeting room by his secretary. After a brief introduction he began by answering my question about what is happening to prepare for the Non Proliferation Treaty review which will take place in May of 2010 at the United Nations Building.

Steven left no doubt about the vital importance and urgency of the N.P.T. Review Session which will be held in May 2010 is to set definite dates for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in our world. Every 5 years the Non Proliferation Treaty nations (138) hold a Review to assess how well they are doing in moving toward nuclear weapon abolition. The international body of Mayors for Peace which has 3000 members of which Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima is president has helped to draft the accord which calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons from our earth by 2020. The agreement by all nations to abolish their weapons and the plans on how this will be accomplished must be in place by 2015. These goals and dates are known as the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocols.

Leeper fears deeply that if this doesn’t happen at the N.P.T. Review in May, 2010 then it won’t be long before poor nations will arm themselves with nuclear weapons. When that happens it is only a matter of time before a nuclear exchange will take place.

Steven said many other things but these were the words that I understood and felt great urgency about. He summed up his urgent message with “this is crunch time” the advice to listen was well advised.

We heard from the townspeople of Iwakuni about the local effects of American military supremacy. Now we heard from the Chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation about the global consequences of not acting.

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