Paper Crane Project

In 2012 ICAN youth campaigners from Hiroshima launched a project to send 1,000 hand-folded paper cranes to the president or prime minister of every UN member state – a total of more than 190,000 cranes. In return for this gift, they sought a message of support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. They said that more needed to be done to ensure that no other city ever experienced the horrors of nuclear weapons.

Briefing paper about the project →


Official responses


Why paper cranes?

Paper cranes are a traditional Japanese symbol for good health. Since the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, they have also symbolized support for a nuclear-weapon-free world. The two bombings claimed more than 210,000 lives by the end of 1945. Many more people have died from radiation-related illnesses in the decades since. We hope that this project will help to demonstrate the overwhelming support worldwide for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

High school students from Hiroshima launch the project at an ICAN meeting in August 2012.
Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla receives cranes from ICAN campaigner Mariko Ishii.
Australian prime minister Julia Gillard (centre) holds cranes from Hiroshima and Gisborne.
Campaigners present paper cranes to Finnish president Sauli Niinistö (centre).
Swiss president Evelyn Widmer Schlumpf receives 1,000 paper cranes from ICAN.


Information in Spanish →

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate