Summary of the Hiroshima Peace Forum Discussions

This text was created from the broadcasted program of the forum on the Internet on-the-fly for the readers who were not able to watch the broadcasted program. Since it has not been reviewed, please understand that it may be neither accurate nor readable.

Welcome by Ms. Kimiyo Fujii,
student of Hiroshima City University

Welcome to Peres-san and Ooe-san. Hiraoka-san, thank you for your coming.

Hiroshima is a beautiful city and we have the A-bomb Dome which is the symbol of the World Peace. I expect to hear from the distinguished panelists what we should do for the world peace. How can we use the Internet to create more peaceful world, for example? How can we be more creative to make the world more peaceful in the 21st century?

Keynote by Mr. Shimon Peres

Thank you very much.

What has been happening in the last 50 years was remarkable. Dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima create a great disaster. I hope this is the last use of such weapons in our history. After that, Japan has contributed to make the single and global world by means of producing communication devices and products for the world.

On the other hand, Japan has not shown in the politic scenes of the world like as a non-politic country. Japan became one of the most important country for the world economy, not for the military power and the world politics.

Japan has put her emphasis on economic growth and industry development. Heroes and heroin of the 20 century are not military people: they are Princes Diana and Mother Teresa. Both are women. Economic growth and industry development becomes more and more important.

Communism has collapsed. Books in my library told me "communism was collapsing." There was no revolution in those countries. There was no battle in those countries. They collapsed by themselves. The key is efficiency of the society. Such efficiency is realized by only employing the free market.

Information and market are the keywords. Human talent and human capacity are important for such efficiency. The size of the land is not important any more. Russia is one of the biggest countries, but they have not been successful. The reason is that there is a lack of use of human intelligence in Russia.

The difference is in the social systems. If your system is inferior to other systems, your country cannot be competitive. Such systems make your society more productive and efficient.

Information goes beyond time and distances. Now we have two windows to the world. One is the TV window. Everyday we watch TV and know what is going on in the world.

Science and technology, can they be neutral? Are they independent from the cultures? No, the long range missiles can hit a target on the other side of the globe in a few second. The use of science and technology should be carefully examined. Otherwise, we will do the same thing again as we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima.

We have had five wars in the last 50 years. We have developed the emotion that we hate one another, enemies. For us, our enemies are killers. It is very difficult.

We need to compromise. It is like a relation between a wife and a husband. We have to face to our enemies and to negotiate with them. If you are too strong, you will lose your eager to negotiate. This is the point.

We have to pay the price for understanding the enemies. We understand that. History tells us that. If you kill more, you have to kill more to protect yourself. So, it pays off. It is reasonable to pay the price.

Educate people, build a science and technology based industry, develop an innovative society are important. These things are becoming more and more important in the modern societies. The continuation is the key thing. To defend your culture, arms are useless, though arms are useful to defend your border.

Universities become more important to educate young people. The world is changing so much. We need to learn "how to learn." We have to teach our children how to learn to work together, to communicate, etc. The new age has arrived already. We have to create a better world for our children.

Panel Discussion



Professor Shimaya introduced the panelists, Mr. Peres, Mr. Ooe and Mr. Hiraoka to the audience. Prof. Shimaya then explained about the issues to be discussed and questions to be answered by the panelists.

Position statements by the panelists

Mr. Ooe

I started thinking of Hiroshima bombing very early stage of my life and I wrote the book "Hiroshima note." I also started thinking of "Holocaust." We had to go down to the bottom of the world before climbing up to the top of the world. These two historic events were the most symbolic events in the 20th century in that sense.

There are people who believe that we do not teach our past: Bombing of Hiroshima, Mass-killing of Nanjing by Japanese soldiers, etc. They are the new type of nationalists. They ignore what happened in Hiroshima.

In the early 21st century, we need to stop producing nuclear weapons. It is not easy to accomplish this. I insisted that France should have not conducted the nuclear tests. All the countries that own nuclear weapons today abolish they nuclear weapons and reduce their conventional weapons. We have to understand that we should pay the costs, that Mr. Peres said in his keynote speech. We experienced the atomic bombings. We are responsible to work on this.

Mr. Hiraoka

Are wars the only way to resolve the issues among countries? We were educated so. But, we do not think so today. As science advances, victims of wars increase. Until the 19th century, only soldiers fought each other. In the 20 century, citizens are involved. Hiroshima is just one of the extreme examples. Hiroshima tells us today that human being can forget their capability of reasoning. Nuclear weapons imply that we are inhuman.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki have proven that we can overcome such inhumanity and can be reasonable. We have to abolish nuclear weapons as soon as possible. We have to consider carefully our use of nuclear energy. The destruction of Hiroshima implied that we are imperfect. We have to understand this.

Mr. Peres

Holocaust was not a war. It was not our war against German. So, there are some differences between holocaust and atomic bombings. We have to know how we can control nuclear weapons. We can produce nuclear weapons very easily. We cannot just rely on others. There are people who may lie. We need to control nuclear weapons properly. We need to abolish wars.

Governments today do not have enough money. On the other hand, private companies make tremendous amount money. We need to be creative to use powers of private companies. I suggest private companies to invest poor countries and poor people for their education and change of their situations. A poor country may need a nuclear reactor for generating electricity. The same facility can be used for producing nuclear weapons.


Mr. Ooe

After World War II, Japanese people promised the world that Japan would not fight again. We need to keep this promise. We need to remind the spirit of this statement in our constitution.

Mr. Peres

"Denuclearization" is optimistic. We have to answer seriously what we can do for the people who are not honest. It is a very complicated issue. We have to discuss and come up with what to do such irresponsible people.

Mr. Hiraoka

Education of those people is the most important point. For example, some people congratulated the success of their nuclear weapon tests. They are scientists. They were just glad to see their technical success. The point is that they did not see any further. If the weapon is used, what will happen? They have to think of that.

Mr. Peres

This is a chicken and egg problem. We have the two problems at the same time. We have solve the problems at the same time. We have to think it seriously.

Mr. Hiraoka

There are crazy people. For those people, we have to own nuclear weapons. That is your point. But, my point is not produce them. If there are no nuclear weapons, we do not nuclear weapons to against them.

Mr. Peres

The problem is craziness of people. We have to be creative to solve this problem. Governments are unnecessary evil. We do not need them if all the people are honest. We may be able to achieve such a world in the next century, by using the Internet and so forth. What is NATO for today? There is no enemy. They do not need to fight. We need to educate people for the new world.

Mr. Ooe

What is important is to know your counter part people. If you understand your counter part correctly, we can do more than "going crazy." We may need more power than nuclear weapons if there are crazy people. Power may not be just a bigger nuclear weapon.

Mr. Peres

There are people who kill other people for getting money. But, There are people who know the price for killing others. They are committed to kill others. The word, craziness, may not be appropriate.

Prof. Shimaya

We have received so many questions to the panelists from the audience in this room and the audience on the Internet.

Mr. Peres

Question: We see that your country own nuclear weapons. Why does your country own nuclear weapons? Are they for protecting your country? Why did South Africa abolish their nuclear weapons?

In South Africa, they forgave their enemies one another. So, we have to rearrange "Cat and Mouse" situation. We have agreed with Palestinian upon that we do not use weapons each other.

Mr. Ooe

Question: Is there a way to compromise among different religions?

In our history, there is an indication which showed that two different religions were coexist. What we experienced in Tokyo few years ago was that crazy people and normal people were coexist and were on the same train. I believe "tolerance" is important to resolve this problem. Tolerance is one of the key concepts of Buddhism, as well as Christianity. We understand each other. We communicate each other.

Mr. Peres

You must understand that you have to learn all the time. You can study other peoples without visiting other countries if you wisely use the Internet and discuss issues with them directly. There are countries which have shifted their focus from politics to economy. If they shift their focus, they have to find that they need to collaborate with other peoples.

Mr. Ooe

We have to be honest. We have to keep your promise. We declared not to fight 50 years ago. We need to keep this promise to the world.

Mr. Hiraoka

Please understand your country and the culture. Please define your goals clearly. Please work hard to accomplish your goals.

Prof. Shimaya

In the diverged society, we need to understand that there are many different cultures and peoples. We have to accept the differences. We have to be tolerant for the differences. Every conflict begins from a small misunderstanding which leads to a discrimination. We have to understand that we are on the same ship. If we understand this, we can respect for others.