RCPD and UNITAR screen documentary “Paper Lanterns” at 27th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima

December 1st, 2017

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima Office held a screening of the documentary Paper Lanterns at the 27th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima

 

29 November 2017, Hiroshima, Japan – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima Office and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) co-organized a screening of Director Barry Frechette’s and Producer Peter Grilli’s documentary Paper Lanterns.

The film was screened on 28 November in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s Memorial Hall, as a side event of the 27th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima (29-30 November). The screening was attended by Conference participants and interested members of the public.

Paper Lanterns is about historian and hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) Shigeaki Mori and his decades-long search for the families of American prisoners of war killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Mr. Mori conducted his research in hopes that people would recognize the American POWs as victims of the atomic bombing and that the Americans’ families could finally find closure. The film follows family members of POWs Normand Brissette and Ralph Neal as they visit Hiroshima and learn from Mr. Mori what happened to the two men.

The screening featured Mr. Mori and his wife Ms. Kayoko Mori as special guest speakers and also included remarks from United Nations Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Information Centre Tokyo Director Kaoru Nemoto, who also served as screening’s moderator, and UNITAR Hiroshima Office Head Mihoko Kumamoto.

Mr. Mori reflects on his experiences

In his speech, Mr. Mori discussed some of the American prisoners of war he researched and how he explain the circumstances of their deaths to their families. Additionally, some of the most moving portions of Mr. Mori’s speech were when he described the feelings of hibakusha who worked for so long – and still work – to communicate to others the realities of the atomic bombing and their experiences as survivors in hopes that the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated. Mr. Mori also discussed how specific laws, Article 95 of the Japanese constitution, giving hibakusha free healthcare and designating special funds for Hiroshima’s reconstruction helped the city recover from the atomic bombing.

Under-Secretary -General Nakamitsu (second from right) offers remarks at the beginning of the screening

In her opening remarks, Ms. Nakamitsu commented on the duty younger generations have to inherit hibakusha’s stories and messages of peace and disarmament and spread them to all parts of the world. She also noted that although the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by the United Nations in July this year – a historic step in fulfilling the wishes of hibakusha for a world free of nuclear weapons – it does not mean that people can forget the tragedies of the atomic bombings.

Ms. Nemoto commented that she had wanted to screen Paper Lanterns as a side event at the UN Conference on Disarmament Issues held in Hiroshima, so she was glad that the screening was successfully implemented.

Ms. Kumamoto commented that she was moved by the film, which she feels conveys the idea that peace means considering and caring for people as individuals, rather than seeing them as members of a specific nationality. She also said she was honoured that Mr. and Ms. Mori could attend the screening.

About UNITAR

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a principal training arm of the United Nations, working in every region of the world. We empower individuals, governments and organizations through knowledge and learning to effectively overcome contemporary global challenges.

The UNITAR Hiroshima Office, mandated to promote post-conflict reconstruction and international peace, has long engaged in designing and conducting training for people from post-conflict countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan, and commands a unique understanding of the needs of such trainees as they work toward peace.

About UNODA

UNODA provides substantive and organizational support for norm-setting in the area of disarmament through the work of the General Assembly and its First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and other bodies. It fosters disarmament measures through dialogue, transparency and confidence-building on military matters, and encourages regional disarmament efforts; these include the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and regional forums.

It also provides objective, impartial and up-to-date information on multilateral disarmament issues and activities to Member States, States parties to multilateral agreements, intergovernmental organizations and institutions, departments and agencies of the United Nations system, research and educational institutions, civil society, especially non-governmental organizations, the media and the general public.

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At the UNITAR Hiroshima Office                                                                                                       UNODA

Mr. Kenta MATSUOKA                                                                                                                       Mr. Tsutomu Kono

Email: kenta.matsuoka@unitar.org                                                                                                  konot@un.org

Phone: +81 82 511 2424                                                                                                                  +1-212-962-5575

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