Nagasaki youths key to hibakusha message: mayor

Kyodo

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue on Sunday told high school students gathering signatures calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons to listen to the voices of the atomic-bombing survivors and convey their messages to future generations.

“I want you to listen to the stories of nuclear bombing survivors with all your heart and become people who can build peace,” Taue told the students from Nagasaki during his lecture at the city’s Atomic Bomb Museum.

“The potential that young people have is different from the abilities possessed by adults,” Taue said. “You made me realize there is still a lot we can do for peace,” the mayor said, praising the activities of the 35 students involved in collecting signatures.

Students in the city have been involved in signature collection activities for 13 straight years, and the number of total signatures they collected is expected to hit 1 million by this summer. Those signatures will be delivered in August to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

In his speech to the students, Taue emphasized the importance of conveying victims’ stories to future generations since the students will be one of the last generations able to hear firsthand from aging A-bomb survivors.

“It made me realize that the will and power of every single individual involved in the activities do matter. We would like to put all our efforts to collect more signatures,” said Riko Konishi, a 17-year-old student in Junshin Girls’ Junior and Senior High School who attended the lecture.