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Anti-nuke NGO hands paper cranes to delegates at U.N. conference

Toshiki Fujimori, left, hands folded paper cranes to the representatives of countries participating in the United Nations Conference to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31, 2017. (Mainichi)

NEW YORK -- As the first session of the United Nations conference to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons wrapped up here on March 31, an atomic bomb survivor and Nagasaki University students had a special present for each of the government representatives: a folded paper crane.

By handing the representatives this symbol of peace, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Toshiki Fujimori, 73, and the students conveyed their hope for the establishment of a U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. The cranes were an initiative planned by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO).

"I hope that the cranes will remind the representatives of their determination to abolish nuclear weapons each time they see them," Fujimori commented.

Hanako Mitsuoka, 21, a third-year student at Nagasaki University and a Nagasaki Youth Delegation member, said everyone took the cranes with smiles on their faces.

ICAN called for the participation of more countries during the conference by also placing the cranes on the seats of representatives of countries that did not participate, including Japan, and running a campaign on social media posting pictures of the non-participating countries' flags and a signboard with the message "Wish you were here."

Fujimori, who gave a speech to the conference on its opening day on March 27, conveyed his determination to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

"There is no doubt that there is high hope for us members of civil society to abolish nuclear weapons, so we must act in order to meet those expectations," he said.

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