|1. About GENSUIKIN -- Its Organization and Activities --|
The official name of GENSUIKIN is The Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs. Established in 1965, we are one of Japan's largest anti-nuclear and peace movement organizations. We have chapters in 47 prefectures and include 32 nationwide labor unions and youth groups in our membership (as of March 1997). Our activities are undertaken in collaboration with radiation victims' groups, labor unions, and political parties. We sponsor two major annual events. A public rally held in March, "3-1 Bikini Day," commemorates the crew of the fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu-Maru (Lucky Dragon), which was exposed to fallout from nuclear testing at Bikini in 1954. The World Congress Against A- and H-Bombs is held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, the month when atomic bombs were dropped on those cities. Our core activities include efforts to foster solidarity with anti-nuclear activists around the world; anti-nuclear pro-peace campaigns; various initiatives toward a nuclear-free society; and activities in support of radiation victims.
|2. No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis
-- History of the Movement Against A- and H-Bomb --
In August 1945, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs reduced both cities to rubble with heat and shock waves and exposed the residents --including many non-Japanese -- to deadly radiation. Accurate counts of immediate deaths are still not known, though numerous counts were made of subsequent deaths from radiation-induced injuries following the bombings. The first cries for the abolition of these cruelest of weapons came from the victims themselves, many with their dying breaths. However, press coverage of the bombings was banned in Japan under the U.S. occupation authorities, effectively silencing the voices of the victims even in their own country.
The incident that led most directly to the formation of Japan's movement against nuclear bombs was the H-bomb test by the United States at Bikini atoll on March 1, 1954. Daigo Fukuryu-Maru (The Lucky Dragon), a tuna fishing boat from Yaizu city, Shizuoka Prefecture had been trawling in the area. The 23 crew members upon whom the "ashes of death" from the test fell suffered acute radiation injuries. Aikichi Kuboyama, one of the crew members, died about 6 months later. Crews of other fishing vessels operating in the vicinity also were exposed to radioactive materials. The fish brought in by these boats were also contaminated. The incident, which was closely covered by the press, shook the Japanese public. A signature campaign against atomic and hydrogen bombs began, and the movement spread like wildfire throughout the country. In cities, farming and fishing villages, offices and factories, declarations were adopted against nuclear testing or nuclear weapons. The movement spread across the political spectrum with such traditionally conservative groups as town councils, young men's associations, and women's associations running the signature campaign, while labor unions and political parties participated as well.
The signature campaign introduced many Japanese citizens to the voices of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who had already been calling for the abolition of nuclear bombs. The fear of the "ashes of death" aroused by the Bikini disaster and the anti-war feelings inspired by a new awareness of the terrible reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined to generate a powerful movement against A- and H-bombs.
However, the organization that had come out of this movement had to go through a split over the issues of nuclear weapons possed by socialist countries. Those committed to opposing nuclear weapons in any country gathered in February 1965 to form GENSUIKIN, the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs. Renowned peace activists like Bertrand Russell supported the position of GENSUIKIN, declaring that "a movement cannot be called a peace movement unless it objects to nuclear weapons regardless of the country."
|3. Mankind and Nuclear Technology Cannot
-- The Position of GENSUIKIN --
The activities of GENSUIKIN are not limited to actions against nuclear testing, efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, and campaigns in support of nuclear victims. Our resistance extends to all types of "nukes," including the "peaceful use" of nuclear energy. Our position is based on the understanding that human beings and "nukes" can never be compatible. In the words of the late Moritaki Ichirou, former GENSUIKIN Chair and the conscience of our movement: "Mankind and nuclear technology cannot coexist." We reject all "nukes" whether they are nuclear weapons or nuclear power plants.
- Toward the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Our movement calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons is at a crucial moment. The International Court of Justice issued a determination that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons in general violates international law. Long-time activists are being joined by those who were once a driving force behind nuclear policy but now call for nuclear disarmament. At a time when social condemnation of nuclear weapons is at an all-time high, we are determined to use all the strength we have to move toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
- Creating a Nuclear-Free Global Society
As the Chernobyl disaster made all too clear, facilities that use nuclear power are likely to cause terrible damage when an accident occurs. Whatever safety measures are in place can never be sufficient because these facilities are, after all, operated by human beings. We have persistently cautioned against the arrogant notion, promoted by those with a disproportionate confidence in technology, that humanity can completely control nuclear power. A case in point is the Japanese government, which is now aggressively pushing its Nuclear Fuel Cycle Plan to utilize the dangerous material plutonium in nuclear power plants. By firmly opposing this plan, we can take concrete steps toward creating a nuclear-free global society.
- Solidarity with the Hibakusha
The world's population of radiation victims (hibakusha) is estimated to exceed 2.5 million. A half century after their exposure, the hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still suffer from the long term effects of radiation. New generations of hibakusha have also emerged from the accident at Chernobyl as well as among people living near uranium mines, nuclear test sites, and nuclear weapons development facilities. By strengthening our network with hibakusha throughout the world, as well as engaging in joint actions with people everywhere who wish to foster an anti-nuclear worldview and achieve a nuclear-free society, we believe that we can create a world without nuclear plants and nuclear weapons.