• Kyodo

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A major anti-nuclear group said Friday it will send 12 people from Fukushima to New York to convey the lessons learned so far from the prefecture’s triple core meltdown in 2011 to mark the U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference starting later this month.

The participants to be dispatched by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) said they want to protest not only nuclear weapons, but also the so-called peaceful use of nuclear energy by states as recognized by the treaty.

“I am among those who have experienced that nuclear power and human beings cannot coexist,” Namie resident Isao Baba, 71, told a news conference at the prefectural government offices. Baba effectively lost his home after radioactive fallout blanketed the town.

“I want to say we need neither nuclear weapons nor nuclear power.”

Fumio Kudo, 37, of the city of Iwaki, said in New York that he wants to show people from other countries the desolate photos he took of the evacuated areas.

The NPT review conference opens in New York on April 27 and will end on May 22. During their time in the city, the 12 Fukushima residents plan to submit a petition with around 50,000 signatures from the prefecture calling for a ban on nuclear weapons. They will also interact with members of nongovernmental organizations from other countries.

In Tokyo the same day, the Foreign Ministry bestowed the title of “Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons” upon eight survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who are scheduled to depart on a world cruise Sunday sponsored by the NGO Peace Boat, which will help them relate their experiences.

Scenes from the voyage will be shown during events to be held in New York outside the NPT review conference, according to Peace Boat.

Civic group members from various countries are expected to gather in New York on the occasion to call for a nuclear-free world.

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