Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb (6th August 2022)
Atomic Bomb Day has come around again. On behalf of Hiroshima University, I would like to mourn the souls of the victims of the atomic bombing.
Two and a half years have passed since the global COVID-19 outbreak, but there is still no end in sight; indeed, the new mutant strains are wreaking havoc now. Taking such circumstances into consideration, we have decided to hold this year’s memorial service on a reduced scale, because the health and safety of the bereaved families and of all those concerned must take precedence.
This year, 19 of the atomic bomb victims' ashes are to be enshrined in the ‘Hiroshima University Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb’. May the departed souls of the 2,060 victims' ashes, including the aforementioned 19, rest in peace, and may the bereaved families find some peace and consolation.
As I see it, the situation regarding nuclear weapons has become more serious than ever before. With Russia's ongoing military invasion of Ukraine, nuclear risks are said to be at their highest level since the end of the Cold War, as we now see Russia's attacks on nuclear power plants and threatening messages to use nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, as for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Vienna saw its first ever meeting in June this year. Although the Japanese Government did not participate, I take the meeting as a sign of member countries' determination to achieve a nuclear-free world.
On this day seventy-seven years ago, most of the buildings of the nine forerunner institutions of Hiroshima University, such as Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, collapsed or burnt down with catastrophic damage. As a result, many students, as well as administrative and faculty members, fell victim to the bomb or were badly injured, while they were inside the school buildings, or while being mobilized to serve as volunteer workers in the city.
Four years after the bombing, Hiroshima University was established with Mr. Tatsuo Morito serving as the first President of Hiroshima University in the ruins of Hiroshima. He called for the donation of materials in order to conduct peace research as well as seeds of trees so as to create a campus full of greenery. The donated materials, amounting to 2,600 volumes of documents, are now archived at the Peace Library, whereas the thriving trees have been passed on from generation to generation to help create a greener campus.
In the seven years since I became President, I have devoted myself to 'cultivating peace-pursuing cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit'. Having thought about what I can do to realize peace, I have decided to start tackling issues head on by receiving Ukrainian students to Hiroshima University and by providing humanitarian assistance to former international students from Afghanistan.
Next May, the G7 summit will be held in Hiroshima. It will be the first time in history that the heads of the seven major states will jointly visit the A-bombed city. I hope that their visits will help the world to move towards achieving a complete abolishment of nuclear weapons, leading to the creation of a free and peaceful world.
Finally, I would like to conclude my address of remembrance by pledging once again that 100 years from now, Hiroshima University will continue to carry out its mission as a 'University of Peace'.
6th August Reiwa 4 (2022)
President of Hiroshima University