Shiba Park, Minato City, Tokyo – Inage Park, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa 11.89 miles
It was a very long day today; it was so sunny that I got heat rash on my hands. Now I know why Japan is called the “Land of the Rising Sun.” I still enjoyed the march, however, though I had to say goodbye to my new friends from Tokyo.
We marched from Tokyo into Kanagawa prefecture, into the city of Kawasaki. Most of the people marching only march through their own prefecture, so there was a ceremony to hand over all the flags and banners. Everyone I met and heard speak was really doing great and inspiring things for the nuclear peace movement. Kawasaki was very different from what I’d seen of Tokyo, and I’m excited to actually march with the new people I met today at the ceremony.
The part I enjoyed most was actually the youth rally afterward, however. I had some really great discussion with people my age and learned a lot about the attitudes of Japanese youth towards the nuclear peace movement. Apparently the youth are not as involved in nuclear peace protests, as many of them think it is a lost cause. However, there were obviously some who did believe in the peace movement who were at the rally.
There was also a lecture by a member of the Peace Studies Association of Japan about the current situation with the nuclear peace movement and some of its background. Apparently a little over 15 countries have nuclear weapons, with most having anywhere from a few to 300, while Russia and the US have about 7000 (keep in mind these are much more powerful than those used in WWII). I don’t know exactly why its necessary to have that many nuclear weapons, unless their plan is actually to blow up the entire world. The bigger nuclear powers (US, Russia, Great Britain, France) are pushing against the current UN initiative to ban nuclear weapons because they fear North Korea, who has 8 nuclear warheads so far. I think 7000 might not be quite necessary for that. In addition, if Korea was hit with an atom bomb of today’s power, it would affect much of Asia, including Japan.
I could go on for quite a while, but there is just too much for a short blog post. I also listened to the testimony of a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, but I couldn’t give it justice. Listening to all of this today made me think that we really should be sharing these things more. The nuclear weapons survivors (called “Hibakusha”) are in their 80’s, and won’t be around much longer. Their testimonies should be preserved and shared so that people can actually understand just how awful it was. The hibakusha today talked about seeing people’s skin melting off their bodies when she was still in grade school. That’s something you can’t get from a history book.