Japan’s National Federation of UNESCO Associations holds convention to discuss sustainable peace in Okinawa
June 25, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
Japan’s National Federation of UNESCO Associations opened its 72nd convention on June 25 at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City. The convention was held for the first time in 34 years, the last being in 1982.
About 500 members from UNESCO associations in Japan took part in the convention.
Through a special lecture and panel discussion, participants approached the issue of building peace from the perspective of the theme of the convention titled, “Nuchidutakara- Let’s build a fortress for sustainable peace”.
It was held on June 26.
Yoshikazu Higashi, chair of the Okinawa UNESCO Association, said at the opening ceremony, “In this convention, we would like to think about the peace issue squarely. We need to nip the cause of confrontation in the bud. I believe the UNESCO Associations’ pigeon, the symbol of the world peace, is stronger than a hawk.”
(English translation by T&CT)
Panelists including people who experienced the war share ideas at the UNESCO associations’ national convention
June 26, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
Tetsuya Takahashi, a professor of philosophy at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the University of Tokyo, delivered a special lecture. Takahashi said, referring to the current situation in Okinawa, where U.S military bases in Japan are concentrated, “This is discrimination against Okinawa by Japan’s mainland.” He brought up the issue of mainlanders’ responsibility, saying, “The Japan-U.S. security system is supported by a massive majority of voters. If the voters who live in the mainland want to maintain the security system, they must bear more of the burden and risks stemming from U.S. bases, in the places where they live – such is their responsibility for their political decision to accept the system.”
Yoshikatsu Yoshikawa, a former chairman of the Education Committee of Tokashiki Village, and Fujiroku Oshiro, a former school superintendent in Itoman City, took part in the panel discussion.
Yoshikawa is a survivor from a “mass suicide” that took place in Tokashiki Island during the Battle of Okinawa. He said, “The troops came to the island, and ‘the mass suicide’ was triggered. Nothing like that happened in the places where the Japanese army was not stationed.” He added, “I would like you to think about how to build a peaceful Japan in the future through the facts.” Oshiro experienced being forced out of a shelter cave during the war. He said, “The lesson that I learned from the Battle of the Okinawa is that Japanese soldiers did not defend the residents.”
Yoshimi Kosaki, a company employee from Ehime Prefecture who sat in on the panel discussion, said, “I feel strongly that it is important to hear tragic war stories directly from people who experienced the battle of Okinawa. Works to preserve the war monuments and the testimonies of those who experienced the war are very important if we are to prevent the war memories from wearing thin with time.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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