Nuclear disarmament education and the experiences of Hiroshima and ...
9 Pages
English
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Nuclear disarmament education and the experiences of Hiroshima and ...

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9 Pages
English

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Nuclear disarmament education and the experiences of Hiroshima and ...

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Nuclear disarmament education and the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Yumiko Nogami 526-6 Nabara Kabe-cho Asakita-ku, Hiroshima 731-0215, Japan; yumiko@smilemoon.org
The communication of the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki appears to be facing a real problem. This needs to be addressed urgently because thehibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) are aging rapidly, and when they die, they will take with them the only first-hand knowledge of the unspeakable horrors of nuclear destruction. We must consider new ways to teach children about war and the prospects for peace. We need new approaches which enable the next generation to feel connected to the tragedy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And at the same time, we need to feel empowered to take a stand for peace and make a difference in our lives and in the world. In this article, the importance of nuclear disarmament education in a wider context of peace education is stressed and suggestions are offered to improve current nuclear disarmament education in Japan, and elsewhere.
Nuclear weapons have been a crucial point of debate in international politics since their first use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Due to their immense destructive power, nuclear weapons have played, and continue to play, a fundamental role in the evolution of a variety of conflicts: possible possession of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (and, in particular, of nuclear weapons) was one of the original justifications for attacking Iraq in 2003; the North Korean nuclear development programme is likewise a cause of high tensions; and Iran’s uranium-enrichment activity is receiving much attention due to the possibility of modifying the basic nuclear fuel-cycle technology for the production of nuclear weapons. But despite its prominent position in the global spotlight, the nuclear issue no longer catches the attention of ordinary people. Only a few decades ago, during the height of the Cold War, people were aware of the serious likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons. But now, disinterest in the issue is widespread. The general public seems to believe that nuclear disarma-ment deals with a very fundamental element of national security and is therefore something that ordinary people cannot contribute to, so it is left up to politicians and diplomats to make decisions and take control. It is within this setting that about 27,000 warheads remain in the hands of the world’s nine nuclear-weapon states, the vast majority (97 percent) in theUS or Russian stockpiles [1]. And
ISYPJournal on Science and World Affairs9-17, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006 © 2006 Yumiko Nogami