Between July 30th and August 11th, 2009, an interfaith group from the United States will travel to Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki to be present on the anniversaries of the atomic bombings and interact with and hear the stories of the Hibakusha (survivors of the A and H Bombs). Journey participants will learn from the witnesses in order to understand both their experiences and their path of non-retaliation. Fueled by this understanding, the U.S. delegation will seek to incorporate the wisdom and experience of the Hibakusha into its efforts for the abolishment nuclear weapons. The acknowledgment of wrong doing and the resolve to work for the abolition of all nuclear weapons are steps of repentance that this group, as members of the human family, will undertake.  

Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace stated to the General Assembly of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities that “It is through these humane exchanges that so many Hibakusha have successfully severed the chain of hatred and violence and have been able to work with people all over the world, including many American citizens, toward abolition of nuclear weapons and creation of true world peace.”

Upon returning from Japan, the delegation will commit themselves to the ongoing work of abolishing all nuclear weapons – especially those in U.S. arsenals around the world. They will pass on the stories of the Hibakusha in order to infuse support for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and to avert another nuclear disaster.

Of the delegation, Fr. Bill Bichsel wrote that “This peace group hopes to be a small catalyst to stir people of the U.S. to realize the servile obedience and bondage to nuclear weapons in which they are held.  The American peoples’ consent to nuclear weapons implies the unexamined and fearful assent to the deaths of millions of people.  Deterrence only has meaning when there is intent to use the weapons.”

Visit the Journey of Repentance Blog for details as the delegation prepares for and travels to Japan.

Heiwa / Peace,
May 27, 2009, 12:53 PM