“War is the Biggest Destruction of Environment” So Horie

I was four years and ten months old and was close to Koi Elementary School, Nishi-ku, when the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. According to the article in the Asahi Newspaper on July 8, 2003, several thousand bodies had been cremated on that school grounds in the mid-summer heat, which lasted for one month. I have never forgotten and will never forget the dreadful stink of the cremations.

I had never told my A-bomb experiences until August 6, 2002, because I knew there were so many survivors who had had more painful experiences than I had. On that day, I was invited to the peace memorial ceremony held at Koi Elementary School and given the opportunity to tell my story. I was invited because compositions written by the then-fifth and sixth graders were found in the lockers of the school and mine was among them. Since then, I have been involved in peace activities.

Looking back on the past, various peace movements have taken place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as other cities in Japan since the end of the World War Ⅱ. I myself have joined some of them, including demonstrations, petitions, choirs, in which we sing “Life of the World = Spirit of Hiroshima” in the Peace Memorial Park on every Hiroshima Day, and peace appeals released in front of the A-bomb Dome. It seems to me that all these activities haven’t worked effectively so far. Although a number of politicians and common people from all over the world have visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and seen the cruelty with their own eyes, the trend these days in Japan and the rest of the world seems to have been gradually moving in a dangerous direction.

I would attribute this trend to the people who could gain huge profit from waging war around the world. I know that it is important to pass the tragedy of Hiroshima on to future generations. However, what would I answer to such questions or comments as the following when I tell my experience?
* Japan is under the nuclear umbrella of the United States. How can you appeal against nuclear weapons?
* Your country made a surprise attack on our country. By dropping nuclear weapons on Japan, a million young American soldiers’ lives were saved.
* Your military did wrong in China and other countries.
* Unfortunately, a lot of common people were victimized, but you should attribute that to your leaders those days.

We could not exchange our views on even ground if we only talked about our tragic stories.

In addition to telling about the cruelty of nuclear weapons, we should discuss how much damage is caused to the world environment and how many resources are wasted by war, as well as nuclear tests. Whether winning or losing war, the environmental degradation caused by war affects both parties equally, and the shortage of resources caused by waste in war could invite another conflict.

* Thirty percent of environmental destruction around the world is caused by war. The effect of nuclear contamination is immeasurable.
* The price of a US state-of-the-art jet fighter F-22 is 15.1 billion yen.
* Twenty-six percent of the world’s oil is consumed by the U.S., whose population is only five percent of that of the world’s. The biggest user among them is the military.
* In the Gulf War, 120 billion yen a day was spent, 640 oil fields were burned, lasting for six months, and black smoke from them deprived surrounding countries of the light from the sun, which lowered the temperatures by ten degrees on the average.
* The annual budget of Hiroshima City in 2004 was 532 billion yen, while the price of an Aegis cruiser is 135.7 billion yen.

This kind of information, which shows us how wasteful war means to us human beings, can be found easily if wanted.

Passing our A-bomb experiences onto the next generations is not like a telephone game. Nobody, except those having gone through the hardship of them, can really understand the tragedy. In 30 years there will be no survivors who can tell the facts. I have two sons. When I raised them, I would often tell them, “When you are hit, hit back”. However, the current world situation seems to me that leaders revenge wrong with wrong, or they even strike before they are attacked.

I would like to tell my own experiences, and also about the differences between conventional weapons and nuclear weapons, whenever and wherever I am asked to, with the title of, “War is the biggest environmental destruction and waste of limited resources.