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RENGO Holds 2010 Assemblies on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

At the Nobel Peace Prize award-ceremony held in Oslo, Norway, in December 2009, US President Barack Obama expressed his determination to realize a "world without nuclear weapons." In the wake of that declaration, US Ambassador to Japan John Roos attended this year's Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony for the first time on behalf of the U.S.A, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also attend it for the first time as UN Secretary-General, making it a new step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. It was in these circumstances that RENGO held peace assemblies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hiroshima Assembly

On August 4 RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), together with Gensuikin (Japan Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs) and Kakkin (National Council for Peace and Against Nuclear Weapons), held the 2010 Peace Action in Hiroshima with the participation of about 6,800 Rengo-affiliated union members from across Japan.
Speaking on behalf of the organizers, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga said, "On the occasion of the Review Conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in May of this year, as joint action by the three organizations, we held a peace assembly for nongovernmental organizations, a parade to appeal for peace, and a panel exhibition of atomic bomb photos. We also submitted a '10-million-signatures petition' calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Furthermore, it was a major achievement for Japan, which suffered atomic bombings in the past, that the final document of the Review Conference included a clause reflecting the Japanese government's proposal to the effect that all nuclear-weapon states should undertake concrete disarmament efforts and report on their activities to the Preparatory Committee in 2014."
Next, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba emphasized, "I will make the utmost efforts to establish a clear consensus toward a nuclear-free world and to create further momentum toward the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020."
Gemma Adaba, head of the United Nations Office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), told the assembly that we must continue to pursue the complete abolition of nuclear weapons and that we have a duty to do so not only to the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives but also to all of those survivors who have kept up this pursuit as the reason for their existence.
In an appeal from the sufferers of the atomic bombing, Hiromi Hasai, a member of the Hiroshima Prefecture Organization of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers, declared, "Let's create a world together in which the abolition of nuclear weapons and opposition to war are regarded as perfectly commonplace and natural."

Nagasaki Assembly

On August 7 Rengo, together with Gensuikin and Kakkin, held the 2010 Nagasaki Peace Assembly for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons with the participation of about 4,500 RENGO-affiliated union members and others.
Addressing the gathering on behalf of the organizers, Rengo General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo said with determination, "Sixty-five years ago, on August 9, the precious lives of more than 70,000 people were ended by a single atomic bomb. I would like to express my sincere condolences to those who perished and also my sympathy to those who are still suffering from the aftereffects today. As we have done until now, RENGO will continue to strongly demand the recognition of illnesses caused by atomic-bomb radiation and the improvement of measures to assist sufferers living overseas, second- and third-generation sufferers, people who experienced the atomic bombing, and so on."
Next, Nagasaki Prefecture Governor Hodo Nakamura said, "As a local government with experience of atomic bombing, Nagasaki Prefecture has a duty to speak loudly to the people of the world about the horror of atomic bombings and the suffering of victims. I will continue to appeal persistently and strongly for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of peace throughout the world."
In a message of solidarity, Gemma Adaba, head of the United Nations Office of the ITUC, said that the ITUC will engage in activities in solidarity with the participants in the assembly in order to realize the dreams of people who wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons and permanent peace.
Finally, the assembly proposed and unanimously adopted the "Peace Appeal from Nagasaki" aiming for the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of permanent peace and calling, among other things, for strengthening of the movement and improvement of measures for atomic-bomb sufferers. The assembly ended with a chant by all participants against atomic bombings.

RENGO Stages 2010 Rally for the Return of the Northern Territories

On September 12 RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held the 2010 Peace Nosappu Rally for the return of the Northern Territories in Nemuro, Hokkaido, with the participation of about 1,200 people from Rengo's member organizations and regional branches around Japan.
Addressing the rally on behalf of the organizers, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga said, "This year is the sixty-fifth year since Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai islands, which are indigenous Japanese territory, were illegally occupied by the former Soviet Union, and the illegal occupation by Russia continues to this day. As a result of the visa-free mutual visit exchange that RENGO, from the standpoint of labour unions, which desire peace and friendship, is currently implementing in tandem with the governmental talks between Japan and Russia, the Russian residents of the islands understand that the territorial issue remains unsolved. For that reason, RENGO calls for the early construction of a ship especially for visa-free exchange."
From the standpoint of labour unions, which desire peace and friendship, RENGO, together with member organizations and regional branches, is engaging in various activities aimed at realizing the return of the Northern Territories.

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