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IPPNW Bike Tour Japan 2012
August 7th- 21st 2012
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In August of 2012, 40 brave young activists cycled through southern Japan to show their solidarity with the victims and survivors of nuclear weapons, nuclear testing, uranium mining, nuclear energy and nuclear accidents in the past 60 years. 

The tour started and finished in the two cities destroyed by nuclear bombs in August of 1945. Starting off in Nagasaki with a show of solidarity for the people of the city, the participants cycled to Hiroshima, where the 20th IPPNW World Congress took place. On the roughly 500 km between these two cities, they met locals, spoke with politicians, gave media interviews and organized public demonstrations.


The aim of this tour was to remember the catastrophic effects of the nuclear industry in the past while at the same time advocating for a world free of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Many places around the world have been left uninhabitable and millions of people have been affected by deadly radiation: from Los Alamos, USA where the first nuclear bombs were tested, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroyed in a nuclear inferno in 1945, all the way to places like Majak, Harrisburg, Chernobyl or Fukushima, forever engraved in mankind's memory due to nuclear accidents. See our poster exhibition Hibakusha Worldwide for more information


The multiple nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima last year have once again demonstrated the inherent danger of nuclear energy. On the commemoration day of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing on August 9th, Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of Nagasaki consequently called for Japan to move away from nuclear power. This is a text from th Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun from last August: Speaking after a moment's silence at 11:02 a.m., the exact moment when the atomic bomb was detonated in 1945, Tomihisa Taue told 6,000 participants in the ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park that Japan should never have another hibakusha, or nuclear victim. "As a people of a nation that has experienced nuclear devastation, we pleaded that there should be 'No more hibakusha.' How has it come about that we are threatened once again by the fear of radiation?" Taue said he had wrestled with the issue of abandoning nuclear energy since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant this March. He worried about the effects of denuclearization on industry and peoples' lives. However, after discussions within a committee of scholars and hibakusha involved in drafting his "peace declaration" to the ceremony, he backed the call for developing renewable energy sources "in place of nuclear energy."

He said: "I still do not know what the process will be to eliminate all nuclear plants. But, finally, I felt the need to return to the simple and honest starting point." He added: "The path toward never again creating hibakusha will in the end lead us to having no nuclear plants in Japan." Pointing to the Fukushima accident, Taue asked, "Have we become overconfident in the control we wield as human beings? (...) No matter how long it takes, it is necessary to promote the development of renewable energies." Taue also called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia. In his speech, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "We will seek to reduce our dependence on nuclear energy in trying to create a society that does not depend on nuclear power plants."


As bike tour participants, we added our voices to the chorus of people calling for an end of the nuclear era. As doctors, we have a responsibility to alert people to dangers to their health, to inform them and to advocate for their right to a healthy life. After similar tours around the Baltic Sea 2006, through Southern England 2007, from Pakistan to India 2008 and through Germany, France an Switzerland 2010 this tour continued the tradition of reaching the IPPNW World Congress by bike and reaching out to the public, spreading our message of nuclear abolition on the way. We thank all of the people and organizations who helped make this tour possible through their support.

We also thank the organization Mayors for Peace for their help in putting together meetings with mayors along the route. Mayors for Peace is an organization of
5,238 cities in 153 countries and regions. The organization strives to raise international public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons and contributes to the realization of genuine and lasting world peace by working to eliminate starvation and poverty, assist refugees fleeing local conflict, support human rights, protect the environment, and solve the other problems that threaten peaceful coexistence within the human family. Mr Kazumi Matsui, the mayor of Hiroshima, is the organization's current president, while Mr. Tomihisa Taue, the mayorof Nagasaki, is one of the vice-presidents.




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