Inquiry in Japan - Day 5

Photo Galleries | Posted Feb 10, 2011
Program: Inquiry

Thursday, January 6

We began our stay in Tokyo with a meeting at Nihon Hidankyo, the national confederation of hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). We were privileged to hear the stories of the organization’s Secretary General Terumi Tanaka, Vice-Secretary General Mikiso Iwasa and Assistant Secretary General Michiko Kodama, with the poignant and moving assistance of Japanese interpreter and University of Maryland Professor Michele Mason. After two days of reckoning with the difficult history of nuclear weapons on site in Hiroshima, our meeting with these hibakusha was a superlatively powerful and meaningful moment that brought us face-to-face with this history, and gave us perspectives of what it was like under the mushroom cloud—images that will stay with us forever.

Transitioning to contemporary issues of nuclear politics, we visited the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (CPDNP) at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, where we met with the organization’s Vice-Director Norio Ehara and other research fellows, discussed CPDNP’s functions, and debated current topics concerning nuclear issues in the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. Directed by Nobuyasu Abe, the former United Nations Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs, CPDNP conducts research on disarmament and non-proliferation, and works in coordination with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty through supervision of Japan’s monitoring facilities.

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