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Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb 2017.8.6

Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb 2017.8.6

The day to mark “the seventy-second Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing” is upon us.
To mark this important occasion of the Hiroshima University Memorial Service for the victims of the Atomic Bomb, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the souls of the victims, in the presence of the families of the victims, student, lecturer and alumni representatives.

In addition, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims who lost their precious lives through the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster on 11th March 2011, through the Hiroshima Landslide Disaster on 20th August 2014. Meanwhile, my deepest sympathies go to those people who are still forced to lead inconvenient lives long after the disasters.

On 6th August 1945, the center of Hiroshima City was burnt to the ground by an atomic bomb. Most of the forerunners of Hiroshima University were located within 1 to 4 kms from the epicenter which was the center of Hiroshima City. As a result, most of the Hiroshima University forerunner buildings collapsed with catastrophic damage, while many students or pupils, the teaching staff as well as overseas students from South East Asia fell victim to the bomb.

Last year, more than 70 years after that fateful bombing, Hiroshima attracted the world’s attention again, albeit for a positive reason: President Obama, as the first sitting American president in history, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where he made a floral tribute and sent out a plea for a nuclear-free world.

On 7th July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is the first of its kind to outlaw the development, use, and possession of nuclear weapons, was adopted by the approval votes of 122 countries/regions in the meeting at a United Nations conference. Unfortunately, nuclear-weapons states such as U.S.A., and Japan (perhaps, in the light of some national security reasons), they both stayed out of the negotiations. However, I think it was the first step towards realizing the wishes of many people including those of the victims of the atomic bomb.

Since I was appointed as the President of Hiroshima University, I have been aiming to cultivate “peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit.” In the modern world in which we live, where regional conflicts and acts of terrorism are not uncommon, I strongly believe that the slogan above can be taken as a given mission as well as responsibilities for Hiroshima University, whose founding principle is “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace.” It is my sincere wish that each member of Hiroshima University's alumni takes a leadership stance, moving towards the realization of world peace. Also in April this year, we drew up a new long-term vision, in which the new philosophy of peace science was drawn up as “Science for Sustainable Development,” declaring at home and abroad to realize a diversified, free, and peaceful global society.

It has been about a year since the Higashi-Senda Innovative Research Center first opened as an education hub for students of all ages at the Higashi Senda Campus, which is the birthplace of  Hiroshima University. The site for the Center was once occupied by the forerunner institutions of Hiroshima University, including Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, and Hiroshima Higher Normal School. Following the memorial service today, there will be a lecture presentation by Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs UN. In addition, there will be an unveiling ceremony of a dove objet praying for peace. As President, I feel deeply moved about the Innovative Research Center’s development.

This year, 22 of the atomic bomb victims' ashes are to be enshrined in the Hiroshima Peace Park cenotaph. May the departed souls of the 1,952 victims' ashes, including the aforementioned 22, rest in peace, and may the bereaved families find some peace and consolation.

I would like to offer a tribute to the memory of the deceased by swearing an oath that administrative and faculty members, students and alumni of Hiroshima University are all determined to make a concerted and increased effort to build a peaceful society for all human beings through the university’s education and research, as well as through its contributions to society.

6th August Heisei 29 (2017) 
Mitsuo Ochi
President of Hiroshima University