73 Years After Second Nuclear Attack, Threat of Nuclear War Persists
While attention has been focused on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, it’s easy to forget that on August 9 a second nuclear bomb was used on Nagasaki. While an estimated 80,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly (without warning) in Hiroshima, another 70,000 were killed instantly (also without warning) in Nagasaki. Even if the use of the first bomb was considered justified as a way to bring the war to a rapid conclusion, (and this is subject to debate,) use of a second bomb was completely unnecessary and unacceptable. By December 1945 the death toll from both bombs had reached 200,000.
On August 3, Brooklyn For Peace was among the signers of an Open Letter to the People of Japan delivered to Mr. Jin Hashimoto, Vice-Consul of the Japan Consulate in Manhattan, offering our apologies for the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as for the mental and physical suffering of the survivors (Hibakusha). See video of the gathering on YouTube.
The letter appeals to Japan as well as to our own government to play a leadership role in signing, ratifying, and promoting the Treat on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2017 with support from 122 member states. As of now, 59 states have signed and 14 states have ratified the Treaty. See below for compete text of the letter.
The Doomsday Clock, indicating the concern of the world’s leading scientists about the danger of nuclear war, has been set at 2 minutes to midnight, the closest to midnight it’s been since 1953, as a result of Trump’s repeated threats of nuclear war in addition to his unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement.
Dr. Charlotte Phillips, retired pediatrician and Chairperson of Brooklyn For Peace, speaking outside the Japanese Consulate, commented: “I was 19 when I went to my first demonstration on the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then it’s always been important to me to remember this anniversary. Sometimes as so many bad things keep happening it’s hard to focus on the importance of what we’re doing here, as we say: No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! No more nuclear power plants!”
Brooklyn For Peace has been working in Brooklyn since 1984 for the prevention of war. We call for an end to nuclear proliferation, complete nuclear disarmament by all countries including the United States which now possess nuclear weapons, and the end of nuclear power as an energy source which is inherently dangerous to human health and the environment, as well as being an opening and cover for nuclear weapons proliferation, and a very costly diversion from safe, renewable, sustainable energy alternatives.
Text of Open Letter to the People of Japan from Concerned Peace Organizations and Citizens of the United States:
Friday Aug 3, 2018
Today, Susan Schnall of Veterans For Peace Chapter 34 NYC hand delivered the following open letter to Mr. Jin Hashimoto, Vice-Consul of the Japan Consulate General in NY. 本日、ヴェテランズ・フォー・ピース・チャプター34NYCの代表のスーザン・シュナル氏（退役軍人・米海軍）が共催団体の代表としてニューヨーク総領事館の副領事の橋本氏に以下の公開書簡を花束と一緒に提出しました。（公開書簡の和訳は英語の後に続きます）
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN
FROM CONCERNED PEACE ORGANIZATIONS
AND CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES
—In observance of the 73rd Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings of Japan—
We, the undersigned, represent a coalition of concerned peace organiza¬tions and citizens of the United States who are advocating for the importance of abolishing nuclear weapons globally, toward a more peaceful world. We are gathering here, in front of the office of the Consulate General of Japan in New York, with a bouquet of flowers to express our sincere regrets and apologies for the deaths of those killed by our nation’s atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a war crime and crime against humanity, although our government has never apologized. We wish to extend our deep condolences and apology to those atomic bomb survivors (Hibakusha) who have endured great mental and physical hardships for over seven decades as a result of the horrific bombings.
As the average age of Hibakusha has now reached 82 years old, we strongly appeal to Japan to play a leadership role in signing, ratifying and pro¬moting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by the United Nations on July 7, 2017 with overwhelming support from 122 member states. As of the end of July 2018, 59 states have signed and 14 states have ratified the Treaty. The Treaty clearly states the prohibition of developing, testing, producing, manu¬facturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
We are very concerned about reports from civil society groups that some nuclear-weapon states, including the United States, have been economically and politically pressuring other states not to sign the Treaty. We strongly hope that Japan shows the strength to resist such pressure from its allies of nuclear-weapon states. We also urge Japan to play a leading role among countries that have not yet signed the Treaty by completing its domestic legislative process without delay in order to sign and ratify the Treaty.
We promise to keep raising our voices to press our own government not to engage in pressuring other states from not signing the Treaty. We will also call for the signing and ratifying of the Treaty, and urge our government to begin removing all existing nuclear weapons from operational status and destroy them in accordance with the Treaty.
This April, there was a historic summit in the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean Peninsula, where two Korean leaders agreed to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to formally end the Korean War. We strongly hope that Japan supports the current peace and nuclear disarmament process on the Korean Peninsula by entering direct dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and proposes establishing a North-East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone with leaders of the Korean Peninsula in order to make the region free from all kinds of nuclear threats.
On July 17, 2018, the 30-year US-Japan Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement matured and was automatically extended for an unspecified period of time, because neither the U.S. nor Japan notified the other country six months prior to its termination. We are deeply worried about this Agreement and its impact on the secu¬rity of the North-East Asian region and the rest of the world. The pact allows Japan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium.
In addition, we are deeply troubled by the security implications of Japan’s stockpile of nearly 47 tons of separated plutonium in conjunction with the start-up of Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, which will have an estimated capacity to separate up to an additional 8 tons of plutonium annually. Such a large stockpile of separated plutonium is a proliferation threat, enough to make thousands of plutonium-cored atomic bombs, as well as vulnerable to nuclear terrorism and could become a grave environmental disaster if another nuclear accident happens.
The reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel requires excessive costs. It also has se¬rious environmental concerns and safety risks to workers and local citizens, as we have seen at the Hanford Nuclear Site in the U.S. which has sadly become one of the most radiologically contaminated locations in the world. Japan should commit to stopping the increase of the stockpile and set clear goals for significant reduction.
Victimized by the use of atomic bombs, Japan has also been a victim of the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident since Chernobyl: suffering from massive radiation leaks that have spread well into the Pacific Ocean; the evacuation of more than 150,000 people, many of whom haven’t yet been able to return home; and a rise in thyroid cancer among children, among some of the known adverse effects. The use of nuclear technology, whether military or civilian, comes with enormous risks and incalculable conse¬quences. Effective global nuclear disarmament will not be possible as long as we allow the commercial use of plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
Finally, your constitution has an inspiring introduction clause which rec¬ognizes that “all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.” Japan has learned the benefits of a strong culture of peace, while the U.S. increasingly moves toward the economy of war. Article 9 of your peace constitution is more powerful and honorable than the possession of nuclear weapons. It is more persuasive than the policy of nuclear deterrence or a reliance on a “nuclear umbrella.”
Thus, our coalition calls on Japan to preserve its peace constitution, dis¬card its military reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and show its strong desire to promote a safer and humane world without nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
NO MORE HIROSHIMA
NO MORE NAGASAKI
NO MORE WAR
NO MORE HIBAKUSHA
August 3, 2018
Veterans for Peace – Chapter 34 (NYC)
Brooklyn For Peace
Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy (CIECP)
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
Granny Peace Brigade, NYC
Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York
Hibakusha Stories – Youth Arts New York
Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
New York City War Resisters League
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Pax Christi Metro New York
Peace Action New York
Peace Boat US
Radiation Exposure Awareness Crusaders for Humanity – Marshall Islands
The Ribbon International
Veterans For Peace National
Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World
Veterans for Peace Japan
Article 9 Society for Global Peace Charter
Association for Tokorozawa’s Peaceful City Declaration
Learning Group Cosmos (Kanagawa)
Chris Brandt (Professor of Peace Studies and Poetry, Fordham University)
Sister Jean Fallon (Peace activist)
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi (Buddhist Global Relief)
Gerry Condon (President, Veterans For Peace National)
Barry Ladendorf (Board of Director, Veterans For Peace National)
Mike Ferner (Former President, Veterans For Peace National)
Daniel Shea (Board of Director, Veterans For Peace National)
Tarak Kauff (Managing Editor, Veterans For Peace)
Tsukuru Fors Lauritzen (Fukushima Support Committee in Los Angeles, CA）
Setsuko Thurlow (Hibakusha)
Hisako Sakiyama (Medical Doctor PhD, Chairwoman of 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer)
Kazue Mori (Mie Goudou Law Office)
Osamu Niikura (Professor Emeritus at Aoyama Gakuin University)
Kazuhiro Kogure (Professor Emeritus at University of Tokyo)
Akiko Morimatsu (Association of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami evacuees – Thanks & Dream)
Sadaaki Hirohata (Goodbye nuclear power plant Amagasaki People’s Group)
Yasutsugu Ogura (Associate Professor at Rikkyo University)
Toshio Yanagihara (Lawyer)
Toshiko Okada and Takae Miyaguchi (Network to Evacuate people from Radiation)
Kaori Kanda (professional storyteller)
Tokuko Kimura (Atomic bomb survivors’ Toyu-kai)
Manabu Ogasawara (Nijikko NPO)
Sumio Konno (Legal Action to protect children from radiation)
Yumi Murakami (Fukushima Badge Project)
Yukari Kohigashi (Hyogo)
Michiko Oda (Saitama)
Machiko Katsumori (Tokyo)
Yumi Chiba (Fukushima)
Kensuke Nagasawa (Hyogo)
Shizue Tomoda (Tokyo)
Masafumi & Mariko Asada (Green Party Fukui)