Yumenoshima Park, Tokyo – Shiba Park, Tokyo 8.78 miles
I came to Japan to learn more about the effects of nuclear weapons on this country, and I was not disappointed.
Before the march, I was given a tour of Daigo Fukuryumaru museum, which held the preserved ship from the Bikini Atoll nuclear testing incident (that I knew very little about). I knew that the US had tested bombs in the Marshall Islands around the 50’s, but to learn about the effects was really shocking. It didn’t just affect the islands surrounding Bikini Atoll. It affected all of Japan. Fish from all around Japan were found to be too radioactive to eat (at a time when Japan’s main protein source was fish), and the nuclear cloud had reached so high in the atmosphere that in produced rain with radioactive residue that affected crops all over Japan (and people had to wear raincoats to protect themselves).
After that incident, 2/3 of all Japanese citizens signed petitions to ban nuclear weapons. I would too if my entire food supply was poisoned. This should not be happening in our world today.
After the tour (at the rally and during the march) I listened to many people recount stories and tell of the success of the nuclear peace movement in Japan. This year the UN is convening to decide on signing a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, thanks to the long efforts of these people since the Bikini Atoll incident. I am so awestruck that this march I am participating in is actually making a difference at the international level.
After just a day in Japan, listening to all of these people, I’ve come to realize that my education as an American about these issues is not adequate. If we want to move toward a more peaceful tomorrow, it must start with mutual understanding and really learning about not only history, but the effects of our actions in history. I wish more Americans could experience what I have today, and will surely experience in the coming weeks.