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Friday, August 27, 2010

Ban Ki-moon's Speech in Hiroshima, August 6, 2010 広島式典での潘基文国連事務総長の演説

Ban Ki-moon speaking at the Hiroshima Atomic-Bomb Memorial Ceremony on August 6, 2010 (photo by Wu Zhaowei 8月6日 広島の式典に出席した潘基文国連事務総長 撮影 呉 兆煒)

This year, Ban Ki-moon spoke the Hiroshima ceremony on August 6 as the first UN Secretary General attending the annual commemoration. Below is the full text of his speech then, first in English and in Japanese. In my observation, many who attended the ceremony, or heard or read his speech thought that it was the best of all. He shared his personal experience in the Korean War as a child, reinforced his commitment for nuclear weapons abolition, recognized Hibakusha (a-bomb survivors), their suffering and their contribution to the cause, and demonstrated some concrete steps for disarmament.

There was something, however, that I was expecting to hear in Ban's speech and did not. It is the idea of a Nuclear Weapons Convention(Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Testing, Production, Stockpiling, Transfer, Use and Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons and on their Elimination), supported by Ban, atomic-bomb survivors' organizations like Nihon Hidankyo, Mayors for Peace, and many other NGOs around the world. It is also mentioned, though rather subtly, in his "five-point plan to rid world of nuclear weapons." He talked about it at the NGO Conference at Riverside Church, on May 1, 2010 in New York. Below is the YouTube video of his 20-minute speech then. "I especially welcome your support for the idea of concluding a Nuclear Weapon Convention," he said during the speech. It is reported that the idea of a Nuclear Weapons Convention was for the first time included twice in the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, because of the Secretary General's strong commitment to the idea. But he did not mention it in his Hiroshima speech. Neither did he at the opening speech of the NPT Review Conference in New York, on April 30.

YouTube video of Ban Ki-moon and Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba's speeches at the NGO Conference at Riverside Church, New York, on May 1, 2010. The full text of Ban's speech then is available at the UN website.

I was at the Riverside Church on May 1 to hear Ban's speech, which was powerful, convincing, and inspiring, so this is probably why I was not as excited as the other people at the Hiroshima ceremony were about his speech on August 6. Apparently, Ban avoided talking directly about the Convention idea at the main UN conference in order not to upset the nuclear weapons states too much. That was understandable, but why did he avoid it again in his speech in the city, which is regarded by many as the international capital for nuclear abolition movements? Was he too considerate to the presence of U.S. Ambassador John Roos at the ceremony? It has been reported that Ban made a phone call to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at some point when he was in Japan this summer. Whatever the reason was, we need to be vigilant about the forces that disable Ban from talking about a Nuclear Weapons Convention in the ceremony hosted by Hiroshima City, a co-leader of Mayors for Peace, an organization of 4,000+ mayors around the world committed to the idea of a Nuclear Weapons Convention and the total abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2020.

Here are the full texts of Ban's speech in Hiroshima, first in English and then in Japanese.  

Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Hiroshima no minasama konichiwa. Ohayo gozaimasu.

We are here, on hallowed ground, to see, to feel, to absorb and reflect.

I am honored to be the first UN Secretary-General to take part in this Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 65th anniversary of this tragic day. And I am deeply moved.

When the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was one year old. Only later in life, could I begin to understand the full dimension of all that happened here. As a young boy, I lived through the Korean War. One of my earliest memories is marching along a muddy road into the mountains, my village burning behind me. All those lives lost, families destroyed -- so much sadness. Ever since, I have devoted my life to peace. It has brought me here today.

Watakushiwa sekai heiwa no tameni Hiroshima ni mairimashita.

We gather to pay our solemn respects to those who perished, sixty-five years ago, and to the many more whose lives forever changed. Life is short, but memory is long.

For many of you, that day endures, as vivid as the white light that seared the sky, as dark as the black rains that followed. To you, I offer a message of hope. To all of you, I offer my message of peace. A more peaceful world can be ours. You are helping to make it happen. You, the survivors, who inspired us with your courage and fortitude. You, the next generations, the young generation, striving for a better day.

Together, you have made Hiroshima an epicentre of peace. Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to Global Zero ? a world free of weapons of mass destruction. That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear shadow.

And that is why I have made nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation a top priority for the United Nations – and put forward a five-point plan.

Our moment has come. Everywhere, we find new friends and allies. We see new leadership from the most powerful nations. We see new engagement in the UN Security Council. We see new energy from civil society. Russia and the United States have a new START treaty. We made important progress at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last April, which we will build upon in Korea.

We must keep up the momentum. In September, I will convene a high-level meeting in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations. We will push for negotiations towards nuclear disarmament. A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Disarmament education in our schools -- including translating the testimonies of the survivors in the world's major languages. We must teach an elemental truth: that status and prestige belong not to those who possess nuclear weapons, but to those who reject them.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Sixty-five years ago, the fires of hell descended upon this place. Today, one fire burns, here in this Peace Park. That is the Flame of Peace ? a flame that will remain lit until nuclear weapons are no more. Together, let us work for that day ? in our lifetime, in the lifetimes of the survivors. Together, let us put out the last fire of Hiroshima. Let us replace that flame with the light of hope. Let us realize our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons so that our children and all succeeding generations can live in freedom, security and peace.

Thank you. Domo arigato gozaimasu.








































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