In the 2015 World Council held in Bangkok, Thailand, The World YWCA, recognizing that nuclear energy and nuclear weapons are inextricably linked in their nature as a form of violence against women, undermining rights to safety, health, dignity and freedom from violence of women, young women and girls, and should be both denied, resolves to: Advocate against the usage of nuclear weapons or energy, work to create an alternative, nuclear-free communities with increased roles of women, in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which calls for women’s leadership on sustainable peace.
On International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we are proud to share the following stand from our sisters of YWCA of Japan for a peaceful world:
73 years ago, the World War II/Asia Pacific War left devastating humanitarian damages around the world. Since then, the YWCA of Japan has been striving for a peaceful world. The war brought along terrible tragedies in Japan, including two atomic bombs, and a land war in Okinawa which killed a quarter of its residents. During the same war, the Japanese army committed cruel oppressions in many Asian countries, especially on women and girls.
Based on the regret for the past as above, the YWCA of Japan pledged to become a movement working for peace, as described in its statement “The Apology for the Asia-Pacific War and the Resolution for Commitment to World Peace (available on our website (http://www.ywca.or.jp/image/20100409e.pdf), strongly advocating to protect the Japanese Constitution established in 1947, which includes the Article 9 which renounces war.
In 1970, while many people regarded nuclear energy as a “dream energy” or “peaceful usage of nuclear power” in Japan, the YWCA of Japan declared the principle of “equal denial of nuclear weapons/energy”, and started the peace education program “Pilgrimage to Hiroshima” which is a 3-4 day program held in Hiroshima every summer. The program has been providing an opportunity for participants, especially the younger generation, to learn the importance of peace and share the commitment to realize a peaceful world together, so that tragedies caused by nuclear weapons will never be repeated again. The YWCA of Japan also connected the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Messengers, consisting of high school students from around Japan, to the World YWCA. This year too, like every year, the Peace Messengers travelled along Geneva sharing the message of peace and harmony, addressing the United National Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the World YWCA.
The YWCA of Japan advocates for the abolition of nuclear power plants. It campaigned in collaboration with other NGOs for shutdown of nuclear power plants after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, and is committed to continue providing safe spaces for women and children living in affected areas until the children born on the day of the accident turn 20 years old.
The YWCA of Japan continues to strive towards a peaceful world, which is envisioned in the Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, and believes in the importance of the young generation, especially young women, to pass on and utilize the experience and lessons from the past and take leadership in this effort.
We call on our sisters and friends around the world to raise your voice to realize a nuclear-free world. Please sign the petition for the elimination of nuclear weapons: http://www.ywca.or.jp/pdf/2017/0829b.pdf