Japanese Trip Report

12 August 2001

by Sally Light

First off -  I met Jean Lambert there (member of the European Parliament, and also with the Greens), and she would like to set up a speaking engagement for you if possible while you're in France this November.  She's a pal of Dave Knight's.  Her email is <jelambert@europarl.eu.int> and she spends much of her time in Brussels and Strasbourg, and tries to get home to London on weekends.

I met many people at the conference. and through them, I hope to bring new regions of the globe into GN.  Invitations to visit came to me from delegates from India, Nepal, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Marshall Islands, Philippines, etc.  These are amazing people!

By the way, Shiva Shrestha, Pres. of Save the World in Nepal, was there.

He said that his group is part of GN and that his event last Oct. drew 25,000 people!  I have asked him to write a report about it and to send it to you, as well as for the upcoming Oct. 13.

As you probably know by now, Karl emailed me and Satomi about addressing the Mayors Conference (Hiroshima) on Star Wars.  Neither of us was able to speak there - there was definite resistance, as you know from Satomi's earlier email.

She and I did have a chance to meet.  Among other things, we decided that it would be a good if Michio could do two things to further the Japanese understanding of TMD/NMD -
  1. he could do a speaking tour in Japan, and
  2. he could do his own video which Satomi could provide subtitles for. 

He is very respected in Japan, so his views would go a long way in overcoming the lack of awareness, especially re: TMD. Perhaps you might approach him with these suggestions?  Of course, funding needs discussion.  I am sure Satomi would want to talk about all this with him.

I invited people to come to the GN meeting next May.  Satomi will try her best, as will Corazon Fabros, Secretary General of the Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition, and others.  We can talk later about this.

The time spent with Atsushi and his students was the best!  We had a really good seminar, and the dinner party afterwards was so wonderful! (He was rushing around as usual, but appears to be doing well re: health. I and others told him several times that he needed to slow down.) Later, in Hiroshima during the floating lantern ceremony on the river, I ran into several students from American Univ. who had been at the seminar.

The Japanese people who attended the conference were so kind and loving.  I spoke at both locations (Hiroshima & Nagasaki) -  the organizers ran a very tightly-planned schedule, so I had only a few minutes at a time to speak.  In Hiroshima, it fell to me by lot to speak briefly on behalf of the US delegates.  I apologized for the US' atomic bombing, and mentioned that there were 1,000s of people in the US peace movement, etc.  Afterwards, I was rushed by the audience - all so loving and wanting my card - I believe one photo of this will be in the Akahata newspaper.  I noticed at the final plenary session later on that folks continued to seek me out - giving me gifts, taking my picture, coming right up to speak - it was pretty overwhelming to, firstly, experience Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and then, to be treated with such love by the people there.

One thing is very clear - unlike many in the world, the Japanese respond with love sincere wishes for peace, not with vengeance.  Meeting with the hibakusha of these two cities has changed me - everyone must visit there at least once.

I would say in general that I became friends with many of the delegates from Asia, Pacific, and ex-USSR.  I will follow up their invitations to visit.  This will doubtlessly bring in GN member groups from new areas.   Oh, yes, I made friends with the Amabassador to Japan from Zimbabwe and his wife. Don't know whether this will lead to any GN groups from Africa, but will follow up.

I cried a lot, but also came away with so many, loving friends.  A string of images runs through my mind, such as seeing a group of young Japanese children learning to make their first peace cranes (at Atsushi's peace museum), seeing the mist in the valleys at night near Hiroshima, seeing the bamboo forests (like giant ferns - very soft), hearing the ringing of the gong commemorating the moment of the Hiroshima bombing, and so on.  This journey was both heartbreaking and beautiful.

p.s.  I did receive several requests for the Japanese version of the video, which I passed on to Satomi.  Also, we are likely to see inquiries from various groups and individuals - I gave out the web site a lot, etc.

Home Page