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November events marking the Day of Action in Japan

Throughout November, meetings and events marking the International Day of Action Against Uranium Weapons were held in several cities.
9 December 2010 - ICBUW

Because of the suffering in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese campaign has been calling for a ban on DU weapons in solidarity with the campaign for nuclear abolition. Although DU weapons are not nuclear weapons, both weapons contaminate the environment and create radiation victims. The campaigners also held a meeting with the landmine and cluster munition campaign in Japan to discuss how to build on the successful cluster munition ban and move towards a ban on uranium weapons.

Campaigners requested that the Japanese government inspect the policy of the former administration, which had supported the 2003 Iraq War. They also requested that their government take a lead in the campaign to ban DU weapons. Japanese activists have been promoting the domestic campaign in solidarity with NGO activities to provide medical support to Iraqi people in the areas affected by DU.


11.11: Candle Message by the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

A Bomb message

On the evening of November 11th, a special gathering was held by the A-bomb Dome in order to form the candlelit message BAN NUKES! The message was spelt out using about 1,000 candles and was aimed at the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates participating in the World Summit held in Hiroshima between November 12th and 14th. Jody Williams, Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), was among those who showed up at the candle message gathering. Williams gave an inspiring, impassioned speech, emphasising the need to raise our voices together and act together, and “push, push, push!”

The candle message gathering was hosted by the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA) and the NO DU Hiroshima Project. Ms. Haruko Moritaki, ICBUW Steering Committee (SC) Member, moderated the gathering and Prof. Kazashi Nobuo, also an ICBUW SC Member, translated the speeches made by some of the guests, including Jody Williams.

Although the theme of this World Summit was nuclear abolition, members of the NO DU Hiroshima Project managed to distribute 100 copies of the ICBUW brochure, together with their campaign photo sets to the participants; they had printed 1,000 copies of the ICBUW briefing for this occasion.

13.11: Street action and meeting in Osaka “Towards banning inhumane weapons”

In the Kansai region, a meeting entitled Towards banning inhumane weapons: From the Ban on Cluster Munitions towards a Ban on DU Weapons was organized by the ICBUW-Japan-Kansai groups together with the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL). JCBL is a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). Before the meeting, campaigners from Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, collected signatures for the international petition to ban uranium weapons on the city's streets.

osaka meeting At the meeting, Mr. Akihito Hayashi, Board Member of JCBL, made a presentation on The way to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and problems after its taking effect and ICBUW SC Member Dr. Furitsu, spoke on The international movement towards a ban of DU weapons focusing on the new UN resolution. Participants learned lessons from the campaigns of the CMC and the JCBL and discussed further strategies towards a convention of DU weapons. They confirmed the importance of strengthening domestic and regional campaigns, calling for transparency over DU weapons’ use and revealing the contamination and impact in affected areas such as Iraq, as well as the real situation in storage and testing sites including US bases in Japan.

Ms. Yuko Mochida, volunteer staff of Japan-Iraq Medical Network (JIM-Net), introduced a campaign to collect money by selling chocolates in small tins with paintings by Iraqi children on the lids. Three quilts embroidered with paintings of Iraqi childhood cancer patients were exhibited on the walls of the meeting room. The quilts were a collaborative effort on the part of the many Japanese women who embroidered the quilts

21.11: A Rally of the International Day of Action in Tokyo

Rally in Tokyo In Tokyo, the Rally on the 7th International Day of Action for a Ban of Uranium Weapons 2010 was held by the Citizen’s Network for a Ban of Uranium Weapons (CNBUW) together with the Society for the Study of Modern History at Meiji University. Following the keynote speech of Mr. Takashi Inatsuki on behalf of the organiser, Ms. Naoko Takato of the Iraq Hope Network made a presentation titled: Save the Iraqi children! – a sharp increase of birth defects.

Mr. Rei Shiba, a freelance journalist and the Executive Director of the Network for Requesting Inspections to the Iraqi War, reported on The observation trip to the UK on the process of inspection into the Iraqi War – A perspective of the Japanese campaign. The CNBUW consists of eleven groups including several ICBUW members based in and around Tokyo. Many people took part in the meeting and made appeals from their groups. Contributions for the medical support for patients in affected areas in Iraq were also collected during the rally.

23.11: A lecture meeting at the Kyoto University

Lecture in Kyoto The Kyoto University Group to ban DU weapons organized a lecture meeting together with the Standing Committee of the Student Union of the Literature Department and invited ICBUW SC Member Prof. Nobuo Kazashi to speak. Prof. Kazashi delivered a lecture on The prospects for banning DU weapons and the role of Japan. Around 30 participants listened to the lecture and asked pertinent questions on such issues as the exposure of the Japanese Self Defence Force members who were dispatched to Iraq, and the possible use of tungsten as an alternative material to DU.

The discussion continued at an informal meeting after the lecture with activists, including some students who had been at a nuclear power plant site to stop its being built until the day before. The organiser also produced a brochure which was informative and easy to understand and distributed it at the meeting. Some feedback from the participants: “It was a very encouraging meeting and full of enthusiasm,” and “thanks for the precious meeting. It inspired me to be active on the issue.”

27.11: Japan-Iraq Medical Network (JIM-Net) organised a meeting inviting three Iraqi medical doctors to Tokyo

As an event to mark the International Day of Action, JIM-Net organised a meeting with lectures given by three Iraqi medical doctors who had been invited to Japan for short-term training in cancer treatment. JIM-Net has provided medical support to Iraqi children since 2004. One of the doctors from Baghdad spoke on his own experiences, saying that 17 medical staff from his hospital were killed between 2003 and 2009. He told this story as one example of the difficult situation with which medical doctors are confronted due to the war in Iraq. Doctors spoke about the increase of cancer in Iraq and they said: “Though we do not yet have clear scientific evidence of the cause of the increase in cancer in Iraq, we think that DU is likely to be one of the important causes.” They expressed their gratitude and said: “Without medical support from Japan, we could not treat children and might lose many of them. We still need continued support.”

JIM-NET meeting Tokyo

Mr. Takenori Kato, Staff of JIM-Net based in Amman Jordan, spoke at the meeting about his research on Arabic newspaper articles which have reported on the issue of DU weapons. The newspapers were published in Iraq and other Middle East countries. He said that many articles covered the danger of DU contamination and that some of them included information about contaminated sites. Ms. Yuko Mochida, volunteer staff of JIM-Net, reported about her first experience in international lobbying at the UN in New York together with ICBUW members in October. She also talked about the international movement for a ban on DU weapons and the meaning of the third UN resolution. At the end of the meeting, JIM-NET Secretary General Mr. Maki Sato said: “I am afraid that more and more dangerous kinds of weapons may be developed for future wars. We have to ban DU weapons based on the precautionary principle as it is necessary to terminate the vicious cycle.”