photo credit: ICAN

What's happening at the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit


The Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit has started on the Hiroshima University Campus. For the next three days 50 young people, mostly from G7 countries, will discuss with and hear from experts on nuclear disarmament, meet with survivors, visit significant locations in Hiroshima, connect with each other and develop joint recommendations to the G7 leaders for real, and urgently needed, action to eliminate nuclear weapons. 

April 27th: G7 Youth call on their leaders to honour commitment to nuclear disarmament at Hiroshima summit

After spending the third and final day of the summit making plans on how to take the campaign back home, ways to put pressure on the G7 states going forward, and reflecting on their key takeaways from Hiroshima and the Summit, the 50 delegates presented the final Hiroshima G7 Youth Statement, calling on G7 leaders to seize the opportunity presented by their upcoming Leaders’ Summit and take action on nuclear disarmament, reminding them “possession or use of nuclear weapons is illegitimate as recognized by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and our future security cannot be dependent on distrust”. 

The statement calls on the leaders of the G7 to listen to the survivors of the nuclear attack on the Hiroshima in 1945, known as hibakusha, and recognise the moral imperative of nuclear disarmament. They also urged the leaders to follow the framework of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as the best way to achieve disarmament: “Given the conflicts and crises we face today, we believe that the time for action against nuclear weapons is now. As young people, we champion the TPNW as the most effective path to eliminating nuclear weapons.”


April 26th: Hibakusha testimony, Hiroshima Memorial Park & Museum and the public session

The second day of the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit brought the theory from the first day into perspective as the delegates visited the iconic memorial landmarks that bring the devastation of the city into reality. The day begin with a powerful testimony from a-bomb survivor Ms Keiko Ogura, who implored the delegates to take her story and share it, and to work together to eliminate nuclear weapons. Following her testimony, delegates were guided through the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park by the Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace. They also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, taking in its many powerful, personal yet every-day artifacts that remind all visitors of the not just of the scale of devastation caused but also of the individual lives that were lost or changed forever in the aftermath.  


The day concluded with a public session held at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum where delegates from the G7 countries shared what they had learned so far, what it meant to be in Hiroshima and what they were taking home with them to follow this summit up with action. The selected speakers were: 
  • Gillian Flude, Canada
  • Baptiste Buerrier, France
  • Sophia Duieterle, Germany
  • Diana Duah Asamoah, Italy
  • Keita Takagaki
  • Samuel Legg, UK
  • Molly Rosaaen, US

You can watch the recording of the livestream until May 10, 2023. 

April 25th: Opening day, expert panels and workshops

Over 50 participants traveled from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Rwanda, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the US and Japan to the Higashi-Hiroshima Campus of Hiroshima University to participate in the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit. The event was opened this morning by President Ochi of Hiroshima University and Akira Kawasaki.  Welcoming participants to the Higashi-Hiroshima Campus, President Ochi encouraged attendees to learn about the inhumane aspects of nuclear weapons and discuss with each other how the world could move towards nuclear disarmament:

"Through this Summit, I really would like to encourage the younger generations to re-think carefully what ‘peace’ actually means in this chaotic world" he said, adding "you may come across a challenging question or issue such as ‘how to end war and regain peace’. For such tough question, I sincerely hope that you will be able to deepen your level of discussion, using your youthful and flexible thinking skills, so that the first step will be made towards realizing world peace." 

Following the inspirational welcome, participants heard from a wide range of experts about what nuclear weapons do and how we eliminate them using international law. First, Hiroshima University experts Noriyuki Kawano and Luli van der Does, and Talei Mangioni of the School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University helped the participants gain a better specific understanding about nuclear weapons and their consequences on people and the environment. Later in the day, Hiroshima university's Shinsuke Tomotsugu introduced the challenges in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, while fellow panelists  Helen Durham and Alicia Sanders-Zakre talked about the power of international law, and  introduced participants to the details of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  

Throughout the day, the participants were also invited to participate actively in powerful group conversations about the politics around nuclear weapons and skill building workshops on creative (yet respectful= storytelling and on how to lobby. They took the floor to share their local perspectives and explored ways to jointly challenge dominant narratives and concerns around issues like nuclear deterrence and nuclear sharing, particularly in the context of the Ukraine invasion. And of course, they took the time to thoroughly review their joint statement, which they have been building together through careful consultation in preparation for this in-person meeting. The statement, which will be shared at the closing of the Youth summit and shared with the MPs gathering at the upcoming G7 Parliamentarian Forum on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, will carry their message for and expectations for the G7 leaders when they visit Hiroshima, and will be a powerful pressure tool in the lead up. 

The first day concluded with a unique screening of the documentary "8:15 A True Story of Survival and Forgiveness from Hiroshima" followed by a Q&A with its writer and executive producer, Dr. Akiko Mikamo, and a closing reception organised by Hiroshima University.



About the Summit

The Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit programme will include first-hand accounts of nuclear weapons survivors and the knowledge of renowned physicists, legal experts, political scientists, sociologists and economists. Participants will have an invaluable opportunity to visit the A-bombed remains and Peace Museum unique to Hiroshima, as well as build relationships with one another.  Check out the full programme here

The Summit is sponsored and organized by ICAN, hosted and co-organized by The Center for Peace, Hiroshima University (CPHU), co-sponsored by Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, ANT-Hiroshima, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Peace Boat and supported by the City of Hiroshima, Religions for Peace Japan and Heinrich Boell Stiftung Hong Kong.  This is held in the series of the Hiroshima University 75+75th Anniversary Project.

Photos: ICAN