UPDATE: It was announced this afternoon that President Obama will visit Hiroshima, including the Peace Memorial Park! You can read more at this link. Thanks for all your efforts!
Our colleague within the Pax Christi International network, Sister Filo Hirota, who works very closely with the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, a member organization of Pax Christi International, asked us to encourage President Obama to visit Hiroshima when he is in Japan later this month. The hope is that President Obama will use that opportunity to renew his Administration’s commitment to nuclear disarmament and to listen to the concerns of the Japanese people about new national security laws in Japan.
Pax Christi USA has added its signature to this letter being circulated by Sr. Filo and directed to President Obama (see the full letter at the bottom of this email).
Additionally, long-time Pax Christi USA member, nuclear disarmament activist and filmmaker Bud Ryan is encouraging people to contact President Obama and encourage him to visit the Hiroshima Peace Museum during the G7 summit.
“The last time the summit was in Japan was in 2008 for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit when President Bush was president. I tried hard to get a letter from Emiko Okada — a Hibakusha whom Stuart Overbey and I met when we were in Hiroshima filming for our movie The Forgotten Bomb — to the President urging him to visit Hiroshima and visit the Peace Museum and talk with bomb survivors,” Bud writes.
“I think we have much more of a chance of trying to get President Obama to go, especially since Secretary of State Kerry just visited there. Please be polite when you write and call but urge him to “Please Visit Hiroshima and Go to the Peace Museum” and to take the time to visit with the Hibakusha, the bomb survivors, so he can hear first person testimony about what nuclear weapons can do.
TAKE ACTION: Using Bud’s message and excerpts from the letter below, we encourage you to contact President Obama and ask him to visit Hiroshima — and the peace museum in particular — while he is in Japan, to renew his Administration’s commitment to nuclear disarmament, and to listen to the concerns of the Japanese people about the new security laws.
You can send letters to: President Barack Obama; The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Washington, D.C. 20500 or email at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. You can call to leave comments at 202-456-1111 or through the switchboard at 202-456-1414.
If you’re looking for an excellent resource on nuclear weapons, consider watching or hosting a viewing party of Bud’s exceptional documentary, The Forgotten Bomb, available by clicking here.
Dear President Obama,
Your visit to Japan in a few weeks to attend the G-7 Summit presents an extremely important opportunity to address matters of urgent concern to the legacy of your Administration and to global peace and security.
Early in your Presidency (6 April 2009 in Prague), you inspired the world to believe that nuclear disarmament was possible. “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon,” you said, “the United States has a moral responsibility to act…So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
We urge you to visit Hiroshima while you are in Japan. Allow the memories so painfully protected there to remind you of your own words in Prague: “Moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.” We pray that you will renew your 2009 commitment to nuclear disarmament at the site where the United States dropped an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people, and that you will make that commitment real by bold executive action during your remaining months in office.
Also, while you are in Japan, we plead with you to listen to the deep concerns of Japanese people, including the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, about the reinterpretation of Article 9 in the Japanese Constitution. Article 9 has been the foundation for collective security in Asia Pacific, a region of critical and increasing importance to global peace and security. We believe that the revision of Article 9 could seriously destabilize the Asia-Pacific region.
On 11-13 April the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International hosted a Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace in Rome. A strong recommendation from that landmark conference for increased focus on active nonviolence is generating an important search for alternatives to perpetual war in the Catholic community around the world.
Since the Japanese Constitution was ratified, Article 9 and Japan’s adherence to it have been both inspiration and motivation for people seeking alternatives to military action. For over half a century, Japan has demonstrated that a former military power could exercise its influence without resort to violence. This is an example the global community needs today more than ever before!
Thank you for considering our request to make these extremely important issues subjects of your presentations and dialogue while you are in Japan.