Visiting Hiroshima or Nagasaki on the anniversary of the atomic bombings of the two cities is always a moving experience. To be present in Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary of the twin tragedies was especially poignant.
The Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (APLN) and the Hiroshima Round Table share the vision of a world freed of the threat or use — and the very existence — of nuclear weapons. There is also some overlap of personnel in the two groups. This year the APLN (whose secretariat I head) and the Hiroshima Round Table decided to hold back-to-back sequential meetings in order to facilitate members of one group being able to observe the proceedings and discussions of the other, to mutual benefit. The discussions began on Aug. 7 and concluded on Aug. 9. About 10 overseas guests were able to attend the commemoration ceremony on Aug. 6 and all participants paused to observe a minute's silence at 11.02 a.m. on Aug. 9.
Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation agenda in the aftermath of the failure of the ninth review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York in April-May.