Category Archives: nuclear weapons

Hiroshima survivor in Lowell to honor POWs killed in blast (VIDEO)

by Alana Melanson
May 28, 2018
Lowell Sun

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPdmy6QEoUg?rel=0&w=560&h=315 ]

LOWELL — Shigeaki Mori was only 8 years old when the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, in the final weeks of World War II.

At the time of the blast, he was only 2 1/2 kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion, he said at a Memorial Day ceremony in Centralville Monday morning.

“Luckily, I was on the bridge on the way to the school, and I was blown into the river,” Mori, 81, said in Japanese, translated to English by “Paper Lanterns” documentary producer Nobuko Saito Cleary.

Mori wasn’t hurt. His wife, Kayoko Mori, was about 4 kilometers from the blast, and suffered a permanent hip injury, he said.

Shigeaki Mori could have hated the U.S. for dropping the bomb and the lasting effects it had on the Japanese people.

Shigeaki Mori and Nobuko Saito Cleary _Special-Visit1-by Scot Landon SUN
Mr. Shigeaki Mori with Mrs. Nobuko Saito Cleary (Translator) SUN/Scott Landon

Instead, Mori “transcended the enmity of war” between the countries and reached “across the battle lines to honor the memory of the Americans, the so-called enemies, who were killed in Hiroshima,” said Japan Society of Boston President Peter Grilli.

“It’s a story that we should all keep in our hearts, because it’s a story of a kind of love and humanity that unites us all,” Grilli said.

“Paper Lanterns,” directed by Billerica native Barry Frechette and Max Esposito, follows the stories of the 12 American prisoners of war who died at Hiroshima — with a focus on Lowell native Normand Brissette and Kentucky native Ralph Neal — and the decades of efforts Mori undertook to honor them.

Frechette said Mori was the thread that brought it all together, bringing a voice to those who no longer had one.

12 Hiroshima POWs - Monument for Normand Brissette of Lowell, MA
Photo: Barbara Poole, May 24, 2018 (google images)

Mori — who is traveling around the U.S. with the film team for a series of events, flanked by several major Japanese media outlets — came to Lowell to participate in the unveiling of a new monument in memory of the 12 U.S. Army Air Force and U.S. Navy airmen at the Centralville Veterans Park on Ennell Street. The men either died in the blast or in the following days due to radiation.

“They were truly patriots who fought and sacrificed their lives for their country. I am here now because I want the people of the United States to know about the men,” Mori said to a standing ovation.

Mori researched the aftermath of the bombing, double-checked official histories with contemporary newspaper reports and conducted his own interviews with fellow survivors, said Mayor William Samaras.

“He spent 40 years researching the American POWs, searching through thousands of boxes of records and placing hundreds of long-distance phone calls in hopes of contacting next of kin in America,” Samaras said. “Mr. Mori sought to not only share their stories but also have them recognized as victims by the Hiroshima Peace Museum.”

Through his dedicated work to honor and preserve the memories of the American soldiers, in 1999 Mori finally got his wish for a memorial plaque at the site of the military detention center where they’d been held.

“From their families, we thank you for something you never had to do, but you did it out of your heart,” said City Councilor Rita Mercier. “We’re very, very grateful and we love you.”

Rokuichiro Michii, consul general of Japan in New England, said Mori’s tireless effort has helped to tell “a very important and human story” of so many affected by the bombing.

“Thanks to Mr. Mori and his work, a newfound sense of compassion has been born,” Michii said. “This has helped to bring people together, for the past in order to look toward the future.”

Brissette’s niece, Susan Brissette-Archinski, of Dracut, visited Japan three years ago during the making of the documentary and said it was an experience every American should have once in their life. She called Mori “a wonderful man” and said she was happy he could come to the U.S. and be honored for the work he spent half of his life undertaking.

Neal’s nephew — also named Ralph Neal — traveled from Memphis, Tenn., to participate in Monday’s ceremony.

“He’s made the story known,” the younger Neal said of Mori. “Our mission now as a family is to keep it going, to tell the story, that we don’t do it again.”

He and Christopher Golden presented Mori with the gift of an American flag.

The event, emceed by Joe Dussault, park director of operations, also served to honor all veterans who gave their lives in service.

“They fought for their country, they died honorably, and they will never, ever be forgotten, for they gave us their tomorrows for today,” said Bernie Lemoine, president of the memorial committee.

Lemoine asked attendees to keep in their prayers Brissette’s sister, Connie Brissette-Provencher, who died Saturday.

Mori was presented with citations from Samaras, state Rep. Tom Golden and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, who also provided citations for the Brissette and Neal families. Samaras also presented Mori with the key to the city.

Mori was visibly moved as Samaras thanked him for helping the families of the 12 Americans to understand the loss of their loved ones and bring them closure.

“You have the keys that open the doors to the city of Lowell, but you also have the keys to our heart because of your great work,” Samaras said. “We so appreciate it, and we are honored to have been able to meet you.”

After the ceremony, Mori said he was “extremely touched” by the warm welcome he received from the citizens of Lowell and many others in the U.S.

Feeling that he has now finished telling the stories of the American POWs, Mori said he has already started another project: Researching the POWs from Australia.


Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

Read and watch more from the Lowell Sun  [ http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_31908495/hiroshima-survivor-lowell-honor-pows-killed-blast#ixzz5GtJKgOYf ]

More information: Paper Lantern Film, 2016. (Director, Barry Frechette; Co-Director, Max Exposito; Composer, Chad Cannon; Lyrics and Vocals, Mai Fujiswa; and Shakuhachi, Kojiro Umezaki.)
http://www.paperlanternfilm.com/

UN conference adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons

First Phase Digital
The remains of the Prefectural Industry Promotion Building, later preserved as a monument – known as the Genbaku Dome – at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. (UN Photo)

UN News
7 July 2017 – Countries meeting at a United Nations conference in New York today adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years.

“The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons,” the spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres said following its adoption.

“The Secretary-General hopes that this new treaty will promote inclusive dialogue and renewed international cooperation aimed at achieving the long overdue objective of nuclear disarmament,” Stéphane Dujarric added.

The treaty – adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands), with one abstention (Singapore) – prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.

“We feel emotional because we are responding to the hopes and dreams of the present and future generations,” said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, who serves as the President of the conference that negotiated the treaty in response to a mandate given by the UN General Assembly.

She told a news conference at UN Headquarters that with the treaty the world is “one step closer” to a total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The treaty will be open for signature to all States at UN Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017, and enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.

However, a number of countries stayed out of the negotiations, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear-weapon States, as well as many of their allies. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) did not join the talks either.

In a joint press statement issued today, the delegations of the United States, United Kingdom and France said they “have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty… and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”

“This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment,” they said. “Accession to the ban treaty is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

In response to questions on the joint statement, Ms. Whyte Gómez recalled that when the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was adopted decades ago, it did not enjoy a large number of accessions.

Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. Then in 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States that are the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the beginning, it was unimaginable that those States would be parties to the NPT, she noted. “But the world changes and the circumstances change.”

She added that the hibakusha, survivors of nuclear bombs, have been the driving force in the creation of the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty. The experiences they have been sharing “touch the human soul,” she said, adding that the negotiations were a “combination of reason and heart.”

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