This was the first time for me to consider nuclear weapons and peacebuilding, so I was able to spend a meaningful four days. Everyone had different ideas even though they were based on the same goal, which broadened my horizons and gave me new perspectives. In my group, there were participants from South Korea and Germany. Both of them said that they hadn’t learned much about the atomic bombs at school. But I was surprised because they each had a clear opinion about nuclear weapons. Our group concluded that before abolishing nuclear weapons, each country has to foster mutual trust because there is a risk of war even if we abolish those weapons. We also decided that peace is not just the absence of war and there are many things that we young people can do to build peace, such as donating money and volunteering. We may not be responsible for past wars, but we have a responsibility to not repeat wars in the future. I’d like to keep learning English and convey the story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the world.
I went to Hiroshima Junior International Forum, hosted by Hiroshima Prefecture. 87 students from 27 different countries gathered and discussed the atomic bombs and peacebuilding. Our goal was to make a final draft of the ‘Hiroshima Declaration’ and to present that in front of the prefectural governor. The best part of the program was its diversity. Each of the 16 groups had students from different backgrounds. In my group there were students from Spain and Costa Rica. They taught me a lot about cultural differences and new ways of thinking. However, I learned a lot not only from them but also from the students who live in other parts of Japan. The participants from Hiroshima were much more knowledgeable about nuclear weapons and peacebuilding than I was. One of the other Japanese students was really fluent in English and he showed me how to give a speech and use new vocabulary. I think the best part of the program was meeting many new people, whom I would not be able to meet by staying in Mie Prefecture. I hope to meet them again and make strong and lasting friendships.