Letter from the Marshall Islands
December 9, 2012
9 December 2012
The President of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, has written to a group of young people in Hiroshima, Japan, expressing his support for global efforts to ban nuclear weapons. Hiroshima was one of two cities in World War II to be attacked by an atomic bomb from the United States, killing over 140,000 people.
On the 67th anniversary of the bombing of their city, the youth campaigners from ICAN sent President Loeak a gift of 1,000 hand-folded paper cranes, symbolizing their support for a nuclear-weapon-free world.
This is part of a global initiative organized by ICAN to build momentum for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The young people have sent 1,000 paper cranes to the president or prime minister of every UN member state – 193,000 paper cranes in total – urging their support for a ban.
In their letter to President Loeak, the youth wrote: “We fear that unless governments and individuals do more to rid the world of these horrible weapons, another city might one day suffer the same fate as our own. We feel that we must do everything in our power to keep that from happening.”
President Loeak responded: “I am particularly touched by the message behind your campaign because, as you may have been aware, the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima are not alone in their atomic plight, but rather the radiological legacy of US nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands remains to this day, and will persist for many years to come.”
“On behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I would like to take this opportunity to salute the Hiroshima Youth Committee and all their partners in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for working with such commitment and creativity in pursuit of our shared goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”