Japan Summit

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER AGAIN - ichari ba chode

The Global Alliance for Ministries/Departments of Peace held its 3rd Summit in Kisarazzu and Tokyo in Japan. It opened on the 21 September - the UN International Day of Peace and Global Ceasefire with a beautiful concert of Japanese music, drumming and singing.

The choice of Japan for the Summit was to support the peaceful efforts of tthe Japanese to maintain Art. 9 of their Consitituion which states that 'Japan renounces war....'

The Summit was well attended with delegates from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Italy, Japan (hosts) Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Phlippines, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, UK and USA. Delegates from Congo, Iraq, Ghana and Sierra Leone were unable to come due to visa problems.

 

The first day was dedicated to news of each country's campaign . The second day provided practical training sessions in grassroot orgnising, non violent communication, peacebuilding skills, Gandhian non violence and discussions on the responsabilities of a Ministry for Peace.

In Tokyo Delegates were invited to a Press Conference in Japan's Diet (Parliament). Members of the Upper and Lower Houses of the Diet attended along with journalists from 2 Japanese news organisations. More than one of the Legislators expressed support for the concept of a Ministry for Peace for Japan.

This was followed by a public synposium at the Olimpic Youth Center during which news was given about the global youth movement in support of Ministries for peace. The evening finished with country delegates presenting perspectives on the Global Alliance and the Summits accomplishments. The final communique was then read to the public by Gershon Baskin (Israel) and Zoughbi Zoughbi (Palestine).

Outstanding results of the Summit were considered to be: - The formation and launching of the African Alliance for Peace which calls for structures in government and civil society to support a culture of peace and non violence.

- The lightening expansion of the Global Alliance Network in that the number of countries dedicated to creating ministeries for peace/departments of pease has increased in three years from five to thirty countries , with five more interested..

- The acclerated growth of the global youth movement for a culture of peace

- The evolution of the structure of thr Global Alliance to a self-organizing egalitarian network of individuals and organiztions who promote and support the establishment of ministries for peace/Departments of Peace around the world.

- It was agreed that the next Summits will be held in Australia 2008 followed by Costa Rica in 2009.

Japan Summit The Summit was followed by a visit to Kyoto where delegates had a moment for sightseeing and visited the Golden Pavilian with its superb gardens which Japan is renouned for. A visit to the Peace Museum and a public symposium about the global movement to create Ministries for Peace.. Delegates then went on to visit Hiroshima which started with a meeting with a tiny adorable 'Hibakusha' (survivor of the bomb) Toshie Une who spoke about her experience of the horror, suffering and destruction caused by the bomb. She then showed delegates the grasses and weeds they had to eat in the days following the bomb. When asked what she felt speaking to Americans. She replied " I hold no ill will or resentment because we must have peace and to have peace we must have reconciliation and to have reconciliation we must have peace in our hearts" . This very sobering moment was followed by an explosion of singing and dancing with her as a joyous explosion of celebration of life.

The following day delegates visited the Peace Museum with all the relics, letters in remembrance of the destruction. The Hall of Remembrance where names and fotos of 140.000 atomic bomb victims are enshirined, the children's monument with its thousands of colorful origami cranes for peace. All surrounded by the most beautiful Garden which does give a profound sense of p eace and the feeling that life continues.

In the afternoon there was a public symposium with an opening address given by Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima ( He is also one of the Mayors for Peace). Greetings were conveyed to the Mayor from Enzo Cursio of the Nobels for Peace Segretariat in Rome. The country delegates invited Mayor Akiba to consider endorsing the movement to create ministries for Peace/Departments of Peace. Delegates were then invited to a deliscious dinner provided by the Mothers of Hiroshima.

From Hiroshima delegates were transferred to Nagasaki where they met a second Hibakusha who described her experience of the horrible suffering from radiation and the suicide of her sister who could not bear her pains any more. Next was a visit to Nagasaki's Peace Park and a visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum which opened in 1996 dedicated to Peace and the 74.000 atomic bomb survivors. A further public symposium was held in afternoon. One of the public was an Iraqi physician from Basra, studying in Japan diagnosis and treatment of the effects of radiation because of the eidemic of such cases in his city due to the US's use of depleted uranium it has been exploding in his region of Iraq.

Japan SummitThe visit to Nagasaki concluded in a typical Japanese restaurant joined , to delegates delight, by the hibakusha Shimohira-san.

A few delegates then travelled to the island of Okinawa where over 40.000 US troops are stationed. The . bases take up more than 20% of the land area. They visited two encampmente of local people on ecology preservation missions. One at Takae where two helipads have been projected and another at Henoko where the US Marine Corps p lan to fill the bay to create two new runways right in the midst of the feeding groups of the few remaining endagered dugong.

Binnie Degli Innocenti
Delegate from Italy